In this work, the selective reduction of lateritic nickel ore was carried out using sodium sulfate, sodium carbonate, and sodium chloride as additives. The 5 wt% of anthracite coal, which contains 60.35% of fixed carbon and 1.9% of sulfur, was used as a reductant. All raw materials were mixed homogenously prior to the pelletization process into 10–15 mm of diameter. The reduction process was carried out to 50 g of pellets at 950 °C, 1050 °C, and 1150 °C for 60 min in a muffle furnace at atmospheric pressure. It continued with a wet magnetic separation process to separate ferronickel (concentrates) and impurities (tailings). Iron and nickel grade analysis was performed using XRF, while phase transformation and microstructure were analyzed with XRD and SEM–EDS. The results showed that the sodium sulfate was superior, resulting in the highest nickel grade in concentrate, i.e., 15.06%. The sulfidation mechanism, which could inhibit the metallization of iron, effectively increased the nickel grade in concentrate than decomposition of carbonate and chloridization process. The sulfur content in the reductant also influenced the selective reduction process. It promotes more sulfidation of iron, thus increasing the nickel grade in concentrate.
- Magnetic separation
- Nickel laterite