Sumitomo Metal Mining has filed a patent for a method of treating sulfide to obtain nickel and/or cobalt. The method involves pulverizing the sulfide to a particle size of 800 µm or less and then leaching it with an acid in the presence of a sulfurizing agent to obtain a leachate. The sulfide can be generated from a waste lithium-ion battery. GlobalData’s report on Sumitomo Metal Mining gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s company profile on Sumitomo Metal Mining, extraction by leaching was a key innovation area identified from patents. Sumitomo Metal Mining's grant share as of September 2023 was 30%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.
A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230295766A1) describes a method for treating sulfides containing copper and nickel and/or cobalt. The method involves pulverizing the sulfide to obtain particles with a size of 800 µm or less, and then subjecting the pulverized sulfide to a leaching treatment with an acid in the presence of a sulfurizing agent. This process allows for the extraction of valuable metals from the sulfide.
In the leaching step, various types of acids such as sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, and nitric acid can be used to obtain a leachate. Additionally, the patent claims that the leachate can be further processed by reducing it using a metal with a lower standard reduction potential than copper. This reduction step is followed by oxidizing and neutralizing the solution obtained, using oxidants like hydrogen peroxide or hypochlorous acid, and neutralizing agents like sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. This results in a solution containing nickel and/or cobalt.
The patent also describes a method for recovering valuable metals from waste lithium-ion batteries. In this method, the waste battery is first subjected to a pyrometallurgical treatment, where it is reduced, heated, and melted to obtain a molten body. The molten body is then sulfurized to obtain a sulfide containing copper and nickel and/or cobalt. This sulfide is then subjected to a hydrometallurgical treatment, where it is leached with an acid. Similar to the previous method, the sulfide is pulverized to a particle size of 800 µm or less before the leaching treatment.
Overall, this patent presents methods for treating sulfides containing copper and nickel and/or cobalt, with a focus on recovering valuable metals from waste lithium-ion batteries. The methods involve pulverizing the sulfide and subjecting it to leaching treatments with acids in the presence of sulfurizing agents. The patent also includes additional steps such as reduction, oxidation, and neutralization to obtain solutions containing the desired metals. These methods have the potential to contribute to the recycling and recovery of valuable metals from sulfide-containing materials.