Pyro-Hydrometallurgy Routes to Recover Silica from Indonesian Ferronickel Slag

Reza M. Ulum, Natalin, Rini Riastuti, Wahyu Mayangsari, Agus B. Prasetyo, Johny W. Soedarsono, Ahmad Maksum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Ferronickel slag is a by-product of nickel smelting that provides an abundant silica source. Based on data, every ton of nickel production is equal to eight tons of ferronickel slag production, increasing without any recycling process. It is essential to create an end-to-end process for nickel production and its by-products because this would be a problem in the future and is relevant for many industrialized countries. This study describes a strategy to process ferronickel slag to produce silica. A pyrometallurgy–hydrometallurgy process and ferronickel slag were used to increase the silica content. The process was conducted through alkali fusion; the ferronickel slag was mixed with sodium carbonate at a temperature of 1000 °C for an hour and continued via leaching, precipitation, and cleaning processes. The leaching process was conducted with four concentrations (4 M, 6 M, 8 M, and 10 M) of sodium hydroxide and three different leaching durations (2 h, 4 h, and 6 h). Using hydrochloric acid (HCl) at pH 2 and deionized (DI) water cleaning, the precipitation process was adopted to synthesize a silica powder with the lowest agglomeration and enhance its purity. Characterization was carried out using X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Scanning Electron Microscopy–Energy-Dispersive Emission (SEM-EDS), X-ray Fluorescence (XRF), and Inductively Coupled Plasma–Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES). This study highlighted silica characteristics that indicate high recovery by 85% through alkali fusion, HCl leaching, precipitation, and deionized water cleaning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • agglomeration
  • ferronickel slag
  • hydrometallurgy
  • pyrometallurgy
  • silica particles


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