Advances in microbial leaching processes for nickel extraction from lateritic minerals - A review

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Lateritic nickel minerals constitute about 80% of nickel reserves in the world, but their contribution for nickel production is about 40%. The obstacles in extraction of nickel from lateritic minerals are attributed to their very complex mineralogy and low nickel content. Hence, the existing metallurgical techniques are not techno-economically feasible and environmentally sustainable for processing of such complex deposits. At this juncture, microbial mineral processing could be a benevolent approach for processing of lateritic minerals in favor of nickel extraction. The microbial mineral processing route offers many advantages over conventional metallurgical methods as the process is operated under ambient conditions and requires low energy input; thus these processes are relatively simple and environment friendly. Microbial processing of the lateritic deposits still needs improvement to make it industrially viable. Microorganisms play the pivotal role in mineral bio-processing as they catalyze the extraction of metals from minerals. So it is inevitable to explore the physiological and bio-molecular mechanisms involved in this microbe-mineral interaction. The present article offers comprehensive information about the advances in microbial processes for extraction of nickel from laterites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1447-1454
Number of pages8
JournalKorean Journal of Chemical Engineering
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • Acidithiobacillus
  • Fungi
  • Lateritic Nickel
  • Microbial Mineral Processing
  • Nickel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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