The U.S. Bureau of Mines is screening several chemical processes for extracting metals from cobalt-manganese crust ores and concentrates. These crusts are a seabed mineral deposit of the exclusive economic zone and represent a significant resource of cobalt, nickel, and manganese. Three processes--sulfuric acid oxidation pressure leaching, aqueous sulfur dioxide leaching, and acid sulfation--have been investigated. The first two methods have been previously tested and proven capable of extracting values from similar land- based or seabed resources. All three methods show promise in treating ocean crust materials and have resulted in metal extractions exceeding 95 pct of each of the metals mentioned above. This paper describes the pretreatment methods and leach conditions needed to achieve high metal extractions.
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