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High pressure acid leach (HiPAL) is an effective processing alternative for the recovery of nickel from laterite ores that have traditionally been treated by pyrometallurgical methods.


In the HiPAL hydrometallurgical treatment, the ore is directly leached in an acid environment in an autoclave at temperatures above 240oC.

SGS is a leader in HiPAL technology, and our submarine autoclave pilot plants are the most advanced HiPAL facilities in the world. Our facilities offer you the flexibility to test virtually any processing option. We have the equipment, the expertise and most important, the years of experience to ensure your testwork proceeds smoothly. Testing completed at our state-of-the-art facilities provide you with independent, bankable results.

The HiPAL process includes several main steps:

  1. Feed preparation
  2. High pressure acidic leaching in a continuous autoclave
  3. Counter-current decantation and neutralization to remove solids
  4. Precipitation (mixed hydroxide) and re-leach to remove elements such as iron 
  5. Metal recovery using SX and EW
  6. QEMSCAN laterite feed and mineralogy characterization
  7. Assay and off-line testing
  8. Control, database and information technology

The SGS HiPAL pilot plants are capable of automatic, fully integrated, continuous operation. We integrate all unit processes, from feed preparation to production of fine metal products. A wide range of auxiliary equipment is also available. 

High pressure autoclave leaching is one solution that will lead to increased recovery and an improved bottom line for your operation. At SGS, we have extensive expertise gained over many years. As well, we have state-of-the-art equipment to develop your flowsheet and pilot testing using HiPAL and other pressure and ambient leaching treatments.