Solvent extraction in the South African uranium industry

06 Sep 2018

The possibility of the present resin ion exchange process for the recovery of uranium being replaced by solvent extraction on South African uranium plants is considered. Tests are descriptionbed in which a suitable amine extractant is chosen and in which the optimum conditions for extraction and stripping processes using this solvent, are found. This data is used to obtain a preliminary estimate of the capital and operating costs for a solvent extraction plant which produces 600 tons of uranium per year. The operating cost is estimated to be sufficiently below that of an equivalent ion exchange plant to more than compensate for the capital required for the erection of the solvent extraction plant. Other advantages of solvent extraction are considered, and it is concluded that the results are sufficiently encouraging to warrant further investigation on a larger scale.