Development of selective separation method for thorium and rare earth elements from monazite liquor
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The present work succeeded to develop new optional procedures to enhance the separation process of thorium and REEs. Selective precipitation of thorium with pyrophosphate was successfully attained for the upscale level in which, complete and efficient thorium separation (99%) was achieved with relatively low co-precipitation of REEs (average 15%) and Fe(III) (2.6%). On the other hand, promising and costless method has been developed to optimize the selective precipitation of REEs by adjusting the ratio of the free acids H2SO4 to H3PO4 at 5:1. It could be obviously demonstrated that about 65.3% of LREEs could be precipitated with a minor amount of thorium 11.9%. Finally, this proposed method could be successfully applied for production of Th and REEs with relatively high yield and purity in addition to low-cost–benefit.
KeywordsMonazite REEs Thorium Pyrophosphate
Authors are thankful to the Science and Technology Development Fund (STDF), Egypt, for the financial support, Grant No 5021. We would also like to acknowledge the Nuclear Materials Authority, Egypt for providing the required high-grade monazite.
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