The NicAL project is a long-term collaboration between the Natural History Museum and SME Çaldağ Nikel in Turkey. The project aims to address the key industrial problems associated with nickel processing.
Completed in October 2012, the NicAL EU Marie Curie IAPP (Industry-Academia Partnership and Pathways) project used atmospheric heap leaching (AHL) to address nickel laterite processing problems.
It aimed to enable more cost-effective extraction of European sources of nickel, and to significantly reduce the environmental impact of nickel production.
Addressing the disparity between global nickel production from laterites and resource availability.
The Atmospheric heat leaching (AHL) technique was successful in the case of Çaldağ (Oxley et al. 2006), and could be applied to many other undeveloped goethitic laterite deposits worldwide.
Smectitic ores contain nickel-bearing nontronite and saponite clay minerals, where nickel may be located between structural layers.