Facility Introduction
Niihama Nickel Refinery

The Niihama Nickel Refinery is the only refinery that produces electrolytic nickel and electrolytic cobalt in Japan. The Niihama Nickel Refinery started production of electrolytic nickel in 1939. Since that time, it has undergone 2 major production changes, and now produces electrolytic nickel using the MCLE (Matte Chlorine Leach Electrowinning) method. This MCLE method process is highly evaluated as an excellent industrial manufacturing technology of our country, making the refinery highly efficient even from a worldwide standard.

Applications of Electrolytic Nickel and Cobalt

Electrolytic nickel is used for electronics materials or special steels that require a heat resistance property, and electrolytic cobalt is used for magnetic materials or carbide tools.

  • Special Steels : Seamless steel pipe manufactured by NIPPON STEEL & SUMITOMO METAL CORPORATION

  • Electronics / Battery Materials

Raw Materials

Nickel Matte being Introduced into the Process

Nickel matte with a 70% nickel grade, procured from mines and smelters that we have a stake in, and nickel / cobalt mixed sulfide with a 60% nickel grade produced in Coral Bay Nickel Corporation and Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation, which are SMM subsidiaries, using the HPAL (High Pressure Acid Leach) process is used as raw material.

Production Process of Electrolytic Nickel and Cobalt

  • Crushing

    Nickel matte is crushed into fine powder to make it more reactive.

  • Chlorine Leaching

    Crushed nickel matte and nickel / cobalt mixed sulfide are made to react with chlorine generated during the electrolysis process, and are made into chloride solution.

  • Solution Purification

    The chloride solution is made into pure nickel chloride solution by removing cobalt and impurities, and the solution is sent to the electrolysis process.

  • Electrolysis

    In the chloride solution purified in the solution purification process, electrolytic nickel is electrodeposited onto the cathodes by electrowinning. Chlorine generated on the insoluble anode side is repeatedly used for reaction with nickel matte and nickel / cobalt mixed sulfide again.

  • Chlorine Recovery

    Chlorine generated during the electrolysis process is trapped and compressed and recycled for the chlorine leaching processes.

  • Cutting

    Manufactured electrolytic nickel plates are cut into various sizes and packed according to the requests of customers.


  • Electrolytic Nickel

    Electrolytic nickel is used for special steels or battery materials, etc.

  • Electrolytic Cobalt

    Electrolytic cobalt is used for magnetic materials or carbide tools, etc.

Manufacturing Processes of Main Nickel Products

The production method was completely changed in 1999 to produce high-purity nickel products by solvent extraction.

  • Pressurized Extraction

    Nickel is extracted through directly pressurizing nickel matte by air oxidation reaction under high temperatures and pressure, and is made into a mixed nickel sulfate and cobalt solution.

  • COB Solvent Extraction Equipment

    Nickel, cobalt, and other impurities are separated using an organic solvent to manufacture pure nickel sulfate solution.


Nickel Products

These are mainly used for nickel plating.

  • Nickel Sulfate

    Used for a wide variety of applications, including coloring aluminum, catalyst, and battery materials, as well as for nickel plating.

  • Nickel Chloride

    Used mainly for nickel plating.