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Uranium extraction from unconventional resources A.G.Chmielewski, Yongxia Sun Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology, Warsaw, Poland

•Uranium recovery from low grade ore or sand • Uranium recovery from copper leach solution •Uranium from phosphate •Uranium from fly ash •Uranium extraction from nitric solution

Uranium recovery from low grade ore •Low grade ore from south africa •Egyptian sand •Bioleaching uranium(India)

Uranium recovery as a by-product of gold production (Lottering et al., Minerals Engineering 21 (2008), 16–22)

• Vaal River ore, South Africa, 0.3 kg U3O8/t • Uranium leaching process Oxidation of the insoluble U4+ form to the acid soluble U6+ form in H2SO4 , using ferric as an oxidant. To maintain reasonable reaction rates, depleted Fe2+ is continually converted to Fe3+ using pyrolusite (MnO2-rich ore). UO2 + Fe3+ = Fe2+ + UO22+ Fe2+ + MnO2 + 4H+ = 2Fe3+ + Mn2+ + 2 H2O • Uranium recovery as a by-product of gold production (i) forward leaching (direct cyanide leaching of gold) , then uranium leaching (ii) reverse leaching (sulphuric acid leaching of uranium followed by cyanide leaching of gold)

Uranium from Eyptian beach sand

(Y.A.El-Nadi et al., Int. J. Miner. Process, 76(2005), 101-110) •Sand contains 0.3-1.5% monazite. 0.44% U3O8 in monazite (97% purity)

Aliquat -336: Methyl trioctyl ammonium chloride

0.643g U3O8 /130g monazite ore

Bioleaching uranium (India) (Mishra A., et al., Hydrometallurgy 95 (2009) 175–177)

•0.03 % U3O8 from low grade uranium ore of Turamdih mines-UCIL, Jharkhand, India •10% pulp density, 30 °C for 10 days, 100 rpm •The fungi identified as Cladosporium oxysporum UC2F1, A. flavus BM1and C. clavata UC1FMGY gave 71%, 59% and 50% of uranium recovery respectively from low grade oxide ore from Turamdih.

Uranium recovery from Copper Leach Solution •Uranium level 1-40 ppm in copper leach solutions •The world's first and the only plant to recover uranium was built and operated by the Wyoming Mineral Corporation (WMC ) in 1978. This plant treated 7,000 gpm of leach solution, about 5 ppm in U3O8, and produced about 150,000 pounds(68038 kg) of U3O8 per year for 15 years before it was shut down.


Uranium from phosphoric acid •40-300 ppm U in phosphoric acid •9 million t U in phosphate deposit •400 wet-process phosphoric acid plants in operation •50-120 US$/kg U3O8

(Source:; IAEA)

Uranium from phosphoric acid (Poland) •1980 •Phosphate rock: 70-85% U in liquid phase , 15-25% U in phosphogypsum •Octanol-1 and kerosen extract U from phosphoric acid, 80% recovery rate of U contained in phosphate rock

(Górecki, H. et al., Prze. Chem., 60(7-8), 373-377 )

Uranium in fertilizer(Poland, cont.) •Fertilizer factor: ZCh Police Material

Marokko II (% U)

30% P2O5


Fertilizer NPK(8:24:24)


Phosphogypsum 0.0017-0.0028

Florida 68 BPL (% U) 0.011-0.013

0.0055-0.010 0.0015-0.0023

(Górecki, H. et al., Prze. Chem., 60(7-8), 373-377 )

Uranium from phosphoric acid (using microemulsion, Algeria)

•0.3M DEPA + 0.125M TOPO + 0.26M surfactant + 0.07M butanol •Org./water = 1/12 •90% recovery uranium from indutrial H3PO4 ( 3 stages) • UF4 by 0.6% HF

(Saidi, M. et al., Hydrometallurgy 74 (2004) 85–91)

Uranium from fly ash in Poland •1980’ , metal recovery from fly ash •Thiobacillus ferrooxidans bacteria •lignite ash , 21 days, 65% recovery of U •Coal ash, 34 days, 92 % recovery of U, 12g U3O8/ton coal fly ash

( Chwistek, M. Et al., Fizykochem. Probl. Mineralurgii, Vol.13, 1981)

Uranium extraction from nitric solution by TBP-Kerosene

Thanks for you attention.

Uranium extraction from unconventional sources  
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