Solvent extraction of uranium from lean grade acidic sulfate leach liquor with alamine 336 reagent

Abstract

This paper describes the solvent extraction studies carried out on an acidic low assay uranium bearing leach liquor generated during sulfuric acid leaching of a refractory uranium ore using alamine 336–isodecenol–kerosene reagent combine. The leach liquor has a U3O8 content of about 270 mg/L, free acidity 2.4 N H2SO4 and total dissolved solids concentration of 260 g/L. Process parameteric variation studies indicated strong influence of free acidity of the leach liquor, alamine 336 concentration and aqueous to organic phase ratio on the extraction efficiency of uranium. An extraction efficiency of about 95% was achieved when the free acidity of leach liquor was 1 N H2SO4 or lower, using 2% (v/v) alamine 336 at ambient temperature with an aqueous to organic phase ratio of 1:1. The loading capacity under these conditions was 1.2 g/L of U3O8. About 98% of the uranium values could be stripped from the loaded organic using 1 N NaCl in 0.2 N H2SO4. The solvent extraction studies aided in developing a suitable process flowsheet for treating refractory uranium ores which need high acidity during leaching and relatively lower acidity for purification by solvent extraction.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are thankful Dr. A.K.Suri, Director, Materials Group, BARC for his interest in the work and encouragement. The authors thank the reviewers for their critical comments and helping in improving the manuscript.

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Correspondence to G. Ramadevi.

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Ramadevi, G., Sreenivas, T., Navale, A.S. et al. Solvent extraction of uranium from lean grade acidic sulfate leach liquor with alamine 336 reagent. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 294, 13–18 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10967-011-1507-y

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Keywords

  • Uranium
  • Refractory minerals
  • Alamine 336
  • Solvent extraction
  • Leaching