Separation of Nickel from Liquid Media

Nickel is generally found as the multivalent cation, Ni2+, and less often as the monovalent ion, Ni+. Both ionic forms can generally be sorbed by strong or weak acid cation exchange resins. For the more demanding applications, chelating resins from DuPont may offer significant benefits.

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Mining & Mineral Processing


Nickel is most frequently found in sulfidic ores and nearly always mixed with copper, cobalt, zinc, iron, and other metals. While solvent extraction (SX) can be used to recover nickel, novel selective ion exchange (IX) resins are making it possible to isolate and purify nickel at lower cost and in more environmentally sustainable ways. AmberSep™ M4195 Chelating Resin is used to facilitate the difficult separation of nickel from cobalt in cobalt refining. AmberSep™ M4195 is well-suited for recovering nickel from very acidic process streams. Several innovative nickel-processing techniques are under development and are expected to have significant impact on the nickel mining industry.




Nickel is often a problem metal in precious metal and trivalent chromium plating operations. The distinct ability of AmberSep™ M4196 Chelating Resin to selectively sorb Ni2+ from strongly acidic media makes it an excellent choice for applications like removal of nickel from acidic plating baths and from bright-dip rinse applications in aluminum finishing processes. AmberSep™ M4196 offers exceptional kinetics due to its uniform particle size distribution. In systems requiring lowest pressure drop, AmberSep™ M4195 Chelating Resin will be preferred.

A strong base anion exchange resin such as AmberSep™ 21K XLT Resin may be effective in removing nickel from very strong hydrochloric acid solutions since the nickel forms anionic complexes under these conditions.




Removal of nickel from water and organic solvents is fairly common using strong acid cation resins. For waters with low levels of salt content, a strong acid cation resin such as AmberSep™ G26 H Resin would be a good starting point. In addition, a weakly acidic cation exchange resin like AmberLite™ IRC83 H Resin is often quite selective for multivalent ions such as Ni2+.

If the wastewater is highly acidic, AmberSep™ M4195 Chelating Resin should be used.



Nickel Mining


“Recovery of nickel from bioleach solution” by Duyvesteyn, et al., Patent US 5,626,648, BHP Minerals International Inc. (Reno, NV)

“Method for recovering nickel from high magnesium-containing Ni-Fe-Mg lateritic ore” by Duyvesteyn, et al., Patent US 5,571,308, BHP Minerals International Inc. (Reno, NV)


Cobalt/Nickel Separation


“Development of an ion exchange process to recover cobalt and nickel from primary lead smelter residues” by Kennedy, D. C.; Becker, A.; III; Worcester, A. A,  Conference: Metals Specification, Separation, and Recovery, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 27 July -1 August, 1986 Lewis Publishers, Inc., 121 South Main St., PO Drawer 519, Chelsea, Michigan, 48118, USA, 1987

“Cobalt recovery from copper leach solutions” by Jeffers, T. H.; Harvey, M. R., Report, Rep. Invest. - US, Bur. Mines (1985), RI 8927, 16 pp.

“Separation and recovery of cobalt from copper leach solutions” by Jeffers, T. H., Journal, J. Met. (1985), 37(1), 47-50.

“Separation of nickel from cobalt in sulfate medium by ion exchange” by Rosato, L.; Harris, G. B.; Stanley, R. W., Journal, Hydrometallurgy (1984), 13(1), 33-44.

“Selective absorption of copper, nickel, cobalt and other transition metal ions from sulfuric acid solutions with the chelating ion exchange resin, XFS 4195” by Grinstead, Robert R., Patent US 4451375 A 840529, US 83-526303 830825, The Dow Chemical Company, USA, 3 pp.

“Ammoniacal elution of copper from ion exchange resins” by Byleveld, Edward, Patent US4371506, Hemsley Engineering Ltd.


NOTICE: If DuPont products are described as “experimental” or “developmental”: (1) product specifications may not be fully determined; (2) analysis of hazards and caution in handling and use are required; (3) there is greater potential for DuPont to change specifications and/or discontinue production; and (4) although DuPont may from time to time provide samples of such products, DuPont is not obligated to supply or otherwise commercialize such products for any use or application whatsoever.