Metal Recovery – Hydrometallurgy

The mining and mineral processing industries use a range of processes to recover and concentrate metals from leached solutions and slurries. Ion exchange is a common hydrometallurgical processes used, and is well suited for recovery of low to moderate concentration targets from complex liquors.

Traditional batch or fixed bed ion exchange often produces a low quality metal solution product that requires downstream purification and concentration, with low ion exchange efficiency and high reagent consumption. These systems can also experience issues during upstream process upsets, including increases in suspended solids concentrations. Clean TeQ Water’s CLEAN-IX® technology aims to overcome these issues while providing customers a range of additional benefits.

DRC Uranium Removal
Clean TeQ Water’s plant in the DRC, which removes uranium from a cobalt rich liquor

Our Solutions

Clean TeQ Water’s CLEAN-IX® technology provides highly efficient extraction and purification of a range of metals from slurries and solutions. CLEAN-IX® is a combination of continuous ion exchange and counter-current ion exchange, where the resin and slurry/solution are continuously moved around the system, and are directly contacted in countercurrent to each other. This achieves an extraction rate of typically more than 98% of the contained metal in the solution, and provides an economical method for recovery and concentration of dilute streams.

Clean TeQ Water’s metal recovery technologies achieve very high eluate concentrations. We provide customised flowsheets for our clients, with each ion exchange process step occurring in a dedicated vessel which is optimally sized for its task. We provide turn-key metal recovery solutions for customers and can integrate seamlessly into existing processing circuits where required.

Recoverable Metals

By carefully selecting the resin used as part of CLEAN-IX® continuous ion exchange, a range of different metals can be recovered, including those highlighted in the periodic table below.

periodic table

Advantages of CLEAN-IX®

CLEAN-IX® offers the following advantages during adsorption of metals onto the ion exchange resin:

  • Optimal loading of the ion exchange resin and full utilisation of its capacity, since the resin and slurry/solution move in counter-current to each other.
  • High tolerance to suspended solids in the feed and easily handling of upstream process upsets since the ion exchange resin is moved around the system
  • Resistance to bed fouling as the resin in periodically advanced

CLEAN-IX® offers the following advantages during desorption of metals into a concentrated solution:

  • Highly concentrated elates, providing superior water balance and smaller downstream circuits
  • Lower operating cost as close to stochiometric consumption of reagents is achieved
  • Allows for direct precipitation, crystallisation or EW
  • Tolerates precipitation formed during desorption without blocking up

Our continuous counter-current approach can greatly reduce the pay-back period of scavenging circuits, providing end users extra revenue from dilute sources, such as acid mine drainage, tailings water, pit water and a range of mining or industrial wastewaters.

Sunrise Project

Clean TeQ’s Sunrise Project is an approved mine at one of the world’s largest deposits of high grade nickel, cobalt and scandium. Clean TeQ Sunrise will use CLEAN-IX® technology to achieve efficient metal recovery from the nickel laterite ore. The technology vastly reduces the amount of processing steps, creating a more economical, competitive and marketable product.

Video

The pilot plant video provides an overview of a number processing steps which will be used in the Sunrise plant, including Clean TeQ’s CLEAN-IX® CRIP and U-Column technologies.

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