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On August 19, 2010, Chairman of Jiangsu Pengfei Group Co., Ltd., Wang Jia'an, and Chairman of Guangdong Guangqing Metal Technology Co., Ltd., Lin Xiamiao, signed a contract in Fujian. Pengfei provides four sets of nickel roasting reduction rotary kiln, a total of 8 pieces, to Guangqing. Total value of the contract reaches more than 70 million yuan.
The grinded nickel laterite is mixed with carbonaceous materials and flux limestone. They are continuously fed into the rotary kiln. The materials moves counter the flow of the hot air produced by the combustion of the coal in the kiln. They are smelted, dried, dehydrated, and reduced. Nickel metal is generated in the semi-melting conditions in the kiln. After coming out of the rotary kiln, the material frit is crushed and grinded. Separate the reduced nickel-iron alloy from the discharged frit by the gravity type separator and magnetic separator. The separated nickel-iron appears sand-like particles with the diameter of 2 to 3 mm and it contains 1-2% slag. Its chemical composition is C0.1%, Ni18-22%, S0.45%, and P0.015%. With excellent desulfurization capacity, the product can be applied in the steelmaking process regardless of the content of sulfur. Meanwhile, the sand-like particles facilitate continuous feeding and they can make the material dissolve rapidly in the steelmaking process.
Adopting rotary kiln manufacturing technique, the recovery rate of nickel and iron is high, reaching 90% or more. Compared with blast furnace or electric furnace process technologies, the rotary kiln manufacturing technique has the following advantages.
1. The major source of energy for melting is coal, rather than expensive coke or electrical energy.
2. There is a wide selection of raw materials. Various nickel laterite in Southeast Asia can be used.
3. The obtained nickel-iron contains about 20% Ni. It can be directly used as the raw material for producing stainless steel.
4. The nickel-iron produced can be used as the coolant in the steel melting process.