Metering of sulfuric acid for the extraction of nickel

Nickel is one of the valuable raw materials that are needed for battery technologies. It therefore plays an important role in the energy transition.

The high pressure acid leaching (HPAL) process is used to extract nickel from ores. This process requires high-percentage sulfuric acid to be pumped into a high-pressure reaction vessel. Due to their robustness, durability and hermetic tightness, LEWA triplex process diaphragm pumps are ideally suited for this purpose.


Solutions for the extraction of nickel

LEWA triplex process diaphragm pumps possess optimum properties for metering sulfuric acid in nickel production: they are robust and durable. Thanks to their hermetic tightness, they enable corrosive sulfuric acid to be metered safely.

Advantages of LEWA triplex pumps for nickel mining at a glance:

  • Designed for continuous operation: One-piece drive housing with vertically flanged motor and dual -bearing crankshaft.
  • Monoblock design: Required components such as bearings and seals are reduced to an absolute minimum, resulting in an extremely compact, space-saving design.
  • The flow rate can be controlled by a frequency converter which regulates the number of strokes per minute and thus the flow rate.
  • The pump heads with hydraulically actuated sandwich diaphragms made of pure PTFE are designed for discharge pressures up to 350 bar or flow rates up to 19 m³/h. They are protected against incorrect operation and against impermissible operating conditions.
  • An integrated, individually adjustable pressure relief valve in the hydraulic section prevents possible overload situations during operation.
  • The patented DPS protection system and the diaphragm monitoring system report any damage before leakage can occur. The risk of sulfuric acid leakage is thus minimized.
  • Maintenance is very low because the metered sulfuric acid does not come into contact with rotating components: all moving parts operate in a protective and lubricating hydraulic fluid.
  • Special cone valves with valve seats and plugs made of Hastelloy for trouble-free continuous operation.
  • The pumps are smooth running and have a low pulsation flow. Therefore, pulsation dampeners are often not needed.

This makes them ideally suited for use in the HPAL process.

The HPAL Process:

The nickel ore is processed using the high pressure acid leaching (HPAL) process.


The high pressure acid leaching (HPAL) process is used to process the nickel ore.

In HPAL, nickel laterite reacts with sulfuric acid in the autoclaves and nickel in the form of sulfate is leached at both a high temperature and high pressure, while iron in the form of hematite enters the leached residue. By washing and thickening, the leached solution is precipitated to produce an intermediate product of nickel-cobalt sulfide or nickel-cobalt hydroxides. This product can then be leached, extracted and electrolytically recovered to produce stainless steels or be used in battery production.


Mining industry
Mining industry

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LEWA triplex process pump

LEWA triplex®: Compact Process Pumps for High-Pressure Applications

The LEWA triplex process diaphragm pump stands out as one of the world's most compact high-pressure pumps, ideal for installation in confined spaces. Renowned for its robustness, it has demonstrated exceptional performance across various high-pressure processes in multiple industries.

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