Development of a Cadmium Removal Process for Vale’s Long Harbour Hydrometallurgy Plant

Additonal authors: Collins, M. J.. Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:

Proceedings, Vol. Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019, 2019

Holloway, P. C.

The Voisey’s Bay deposit contains a trace amount of cadmium, which reports to solution during pressure leaching of the nickel concentrate at Vale’s Long Harbour Hydrometallurgy Plant, and must be removed to produce high quality nickel cathode. In 2006, Vale approached Sherritt Technologies to collaborate on the development of a process for removing cadmium to low levels (<1 mg/L) in the nickel raffinate. Following successful bench scale and pilot plant testing at Sherritt’s laboratories, the cadmium removal process was then moved through engineering and construction, culminating in the successful commissioning and startup of a cadmium removal circuit at the Long Harbour Hydrometallurgy Plant in 2017. This paper presents the results of this collaboration and the challenges that were encountered through each stage of development, as well as current results from operation of the commercial cadmium removal circuit. INTRODUCTION Vale’s Long Harbour Processing Plant, with a nameplate capacity of 50,000 t/y nickel, began operation in 2014. In addition to electrolytic nickel rounds, the plant also produces electrolytic cobalt rounds and copper cathode. The Long Harbour Processing Plant uses a unique hydrometallurgical process developed by Vale Base Metals Technology Centre, as shown in Figure 1, to treat a nickel sulphide concentrate produced at the Voisey’s Bay mine and mill located in northern Labrador (VBN concentrate) (Stevens et al., 2009).
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019