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Conference Papers Year : 2016

Agromining: producing Ni salts from the biomass of hyperaccumulator plants


More than 400 plants in the world are able to accumulate nickel in their aerial parts at concentrations higher than 10 g per kg of dry biomass. Then, nickel (Ni) can be recovered from the biomass of these hyperaccumulator plants. Agromining is a chain consisting in growing such plants and recovering metal and has been developed thanks to the combined know-how of agronomy and hydrometallurgy. Plants can be grown on serpentine soils, containing rather high concentrations of Ni, on sterile heaps or on contaminated soils. This crop enables us to extract Ni from secondary resources, and to improve soil quality by lowering its metal content. For example, Alyssum murale can be grown at the field scale in the Balkans, at yields corresponding to 110 kg Ni per hectare. Hydrometallurgical processes have been designed from the lab scale to the pilot scale to produce nickel salts: ANSH (ammonium and nickel sulphate hexahydrate), nickel sulphate, acetate, etc. and so on. These salts are used for surface treatment and in the paint and chemical industry. Ni salts are prepared from ashes, after plant calcination. Processes are based on the conventional methods of hydrometallurgy: acid leaching followed by different precipitation steps. These processes will be presented, as well as the pilot scale design. A life cycle assessment has been performed and clearly shows the environmental interest of this approach as a potential part of an anti-erosion strategy. An economic assessment has proved process feasibility and the final step is the launching of a start-up. At the moment, the approach is widened to other metals (cadmium, cobalt) and rare earth elements (REEs).
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hal-03610088 , version 1 (16-03-2022)




  • HAL Id : hal-03610088 , version 1


Marie-Odile Simonnot, Baptiste Laubie, Xin Zhang, Vivian Houzelot, Florent Ferrari, et al.. Agromining: producing Ni salts from the biomass of hyperaccumulator plants. IMPC 2016: XXVIII International Mineral Processing Congress, Sep 2016, Quebec, Canada. pp 1983-1988 Paper #445. ⟨hal-03610088⟩
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