Metals separation processes
Wasyl Kundas name is attached to a variety of patents
related to processes for hydrometallurgy and powder metallurgy developed
by Sherritt Gordon.
Kundas contributions in hydrometallurgy include the development of the
ammonia pressure leaching system for nickel ore processing, and methods
to recover nickel and other metals from laterite ores.
Kunda, working with Vladimir Mackiw, Frank Forward
and others, developed the ammonia leach process to recover nickel from
sulphide ores. In that process, nickel sulphide solutions, created by
pressure acid leaching of ore concentrates, are combined with ammonia
and oxygen under pressure; hydrogen gas is then introduced to the
soluble nickel ammonia complex ions, and metallic nickel is then
precipitated from the process. The byproduct of this process, ammonium
sulphate, became the basis for Sherritt Gordons subsequent fertilizer
This process, known as the Sherritt Gordon process,
helped the Fort Saskatchewan nickel operation become a successful
operation. The process also became a widely used industry standard for
nickel recovery from sulphide solutions. It has been used for metallic
nickel production in Australia and other nickel production centres.
The development of powder metallurgy processes by
Kunda and others at Sherritt Gordon helped the firm expand into
specialized metal products like coin blanks and other metal forms.
Kundas contributions in this research area date back to the 1950s, and
his patents over the years show increasing sophistication.
A 1975 patent for cobalt composite powders visualized
an outer film of cobalt or nickel surrounding a smaller inner particle.
Sherritt Gordon has been producing specialized cobalt powders as an
adjunct to its nickel refinery for decades. In the 1990s, a separate
cobalt refinery plant was developed, which helped it tap into the market
for cobalt powders used as coatings for specialty carbide tools and
other sophisticated instruments.
Copyright © 2003
Heritage Community Foundation All Rights Reserved