Nickel isotope fractionation during laterite Ni ore smelting and refining: implications for tracing the sources of Ni in smelter-affected soils

Type Article
Date 2016-01
Language English
Author(s) Ratie G.1, 2, 3, Quantin C.1, Jouvin D.1, Calmels D.1, Ettler V.4, Sivry Y.5, Cruz Vieira L.2, 3, Ponzevera EmmanuelORCID6, Garnier J.2, 3
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Paris Saclay, Univ Paris 11, CNRS, UMR GEOPS 8148, F-91405 Orsay, France.
2 : Univ Brasilia, IG GMP ICC Ctr, BR-70910970 Brasilia, DF, Brazil.
3 : Univ Brasilia, LMI, OCE, Inst Rech Dev, Brasilia, DF, Brazil.
4 : Charles Univ Prague, Inst Geochem Mineral & Mineral Resources, Prague 12843 2, Czech Republic.
5 : Univ Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cite, Inst Phys Globe Paris, UMR 7154,CNRS, F-75005 Paris, France.
6 : IFREMER, Ctr Brest, Unite Geosci Marines, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
Source Applied Geochemistry (0883-2927) (Pergamon-elsevier Science Ltd), 2016-01 , Vol. 64 , P. 136-145
DOI 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2015.09.005
WOS© Times Cited 33
Note Special issue of Applied Geochemistry on Environmental Impacts of Mining and Smelting
Keyword(s) Nickel, Isotope, Smelting, Refining, Source, Soil
Abstract Nickel isotope ratios were measured in ores, fly ash, slags and FeNi samples from two metallurgical plants located in the Goiás State, Brazil (Barro Alto, Niquelândia). This allowed investigating the mass-dependent fractionation of Ni isotopes during the Ni-laterite ore smelting and refining. Feeding material exhibits a large range of δ60Ni values (from 0.02 ± 0.10 ‰ to 0.20 ± 0.05 ‰, n=7), explained by the diversity of Ni-bearing phases, and the average of δ60Nifeeding materials was found equal to 0.08 ± 0.08‰ (2SD, n=7). Both δ60Ni values of fly ash (δ60Ni = 0.07 ± 0.07‰, n=10) and final FeNi produced (0.05 ± 0.02 ‰, n=2) were not significantly different from the feeding materials ones. These values are consistent with the very high production yield of the factories. However, smelting slags present the heaviest δ60Ni values of all the smelter samples, with δ60Ni ranging from 0.11 ± 0.05 ‰ to 0.27 ± 0.05 ‰ (n=8). Soils were also collected near and far from the Niquelândia metallurgical plant, to evaluate the potential of Ni isotopes for tracing the natural vs anthropogenic Ni in soils. The Ni isotopic composition of the non-impacted topsoils developed on ultramafic rocks ranges from -0.26 ± 0.09 ‰ to -0.04 ± 0.05 ‰ (n=20). On the contrary, the Ni isotopic composition of the non-ultramafic topsoils, collected close to the plant, exhibit a large variation of δ60Ni, ranging from -0.19 ± 0.13 ‰ up to 0.10 ± 0.05 ‰ (n=4). This slight but significant enrichment in heavy isotopes highlight the potential impact of smelting activity in the surrounding area, as well as the potential of Ni isotopes for discerning anthropogenic samples (heavier δ60Ni values) from natural ones (lighter δ60Ni values). However, given the global range of published δ60Ni values (from -1.03 to 2.5 ‰) and more particularly those associated to natural weathering of ultramafic rocks (from -0.61 to 0.32‰), the use of Ni isotopes for tracing environmental contamination from smelters will remain challenging.
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Ratie G., Quantin C., Jouvin D., Calmels D., Ettler V., Sivry Y., Cruz Vieira L., Ponzevera Emmanuel, Garnier J. (2016). Nickel isotope fractionation during laterite Ni ore smelting and refining: implications for tracing the sources of Ni in smelter-affected soils. Applied Geochemistry, 64, 136-145. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :