Recovery of nickel in the future will rely primarily on processing of laterite ore. Laterite process technology follows two distinct routes – hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurgical – each with distinctly different energy and reagent requirements. Of these two routes, only the hydrometallurgical high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) process, in which technology Sherritt is a recognized leader, is able to economically supply nickel and cobalt in forms suitable for the fast-growing battery market.
Sherritt has steadily improved its current HPAL operating practice and technology through leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) in process control. At the same time, we keep an eye on the future and actively develop and evaluate new technology options that could increase ore utilization, decrease our environmental footprint and lower capital and operating costs. This is our “Next Generation Laterite” (NGL) program.
The NGL program is a strategic initiative that aims to improve recoveries, decrease energy consumption and minimize tailings production, leading to reduced costs and increased reserves through overall improved economics. This will result in a more sustainable and greener processing flowsheet for nickel production. From the Technologies Division in Fort Saskatchewan, Sherritt engages with a wide network of experts and service and technology partners to complement its in-house NGL technology development.