Impact of silica on hydrometallurgical and mechanical properties of RIP grade resins for uranium recovery
Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Bateman Engineering, South Africa
Resin-in-pulp (RIP) technology has recently often been considered for the direct recovery of base metals and uranium from dense pulps. Implementation of RIP will eliminate the requirement for any solid-liquid separation downstream of leaching and has the potential to combine the recovery and purification steps, hence reducing both capital and operating costs. The recovery of the valuable metal is expected to be higher when RIP is used, especially where the leached solids are difficult to settle or filter, and to wash. The main concerns about the use of RIP for uranium recovery from dense pulps are the impact of silica on the resin's metallurgical performance and the operating costs that would be associated with resin loss. Although a number of resin manufacturers have been developing much improved RIP-grade resins, it is critical that the most cost-effective resin be selected. Mintek currently is doing a significant amount of work on silica fouling of RIP-grade strongbase resins in acidic leach liquors and the effect it has on the performance of the resin, including its durability. This paper describes the results of the test work done on silica fouling and its impact on plant design input data. Resin durability test work was done using various laboratory techniques, but durability was also evaluated on a relatively large scale using actual pumps, screens, and mechanical agitation. Based on the results generated, a preliminary economical evaluation was done to estimate the impact of resin loss on the overall economic viability of a specific application. Keywords: resin-in-pulp, silica fouling, resin loss, equilibrium, kinetics, elution, durability, mechanical strength, resistance to attrition. © The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2009.
Base metals; Capital and operating costs; Durability test; Economic viability; Economical evaluation; Laboratory techniques; Leach liquors; Mechanical agitation; Mechanical strength; Metallurgical performance; Plant designs; Solid-liquid separation; Cost reduction; Durability; Leaching; Mechanical properties; Metal refining; Operating costs; Resins; Silica; Transuranium elements; Uranium; Metal recovery