An investigation on the dissolution of natural uraninite ores

Ram, R, Charalambous, F, McMaster, S, Pownceby, M, Tardio, J and Bhargava, S 2013, 'An investigation on the dissolution of natural uraninite ores', Minerals Engineering, vol. 50-51, pp. 83-92.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title An investigation on the dissolution of natural uraninite ores
Author(s) Ram, R
Charalambous, F
McMaster, S
Pownceby, M
Tardio, J
Bhargava, S
Year 2013
Journal name Minerals Engineering
Volume number 50-51
Start page 83
End page 92
Total pages 10
Publisher Pergamon
Abstract The effect of varying standard leach parameters (particle size, total iron content, acid addition, oxidation-reduction potential and temperature) on the dissolution of uranium from natural uraninite was studied. Tests were conducted using two uraninite ores from Australia and results contrasted with equivalent studies conducted on a synthetic UO2 sample. Mineralogical studies, including EPMA analysis of selected leach residues, were also carried out. Results indicated that under standard leach conditions (0.15 M H2SO4, 50 °C, ORP 460 mV, 6.7E10-3 M FeTOT), both natural samples exhibited lower uranium extraction rates when compared to synthetic UO2. Decreasing particle size, increasing temperature and increasing FeTOT all resulted in an increase in the rate of uranium dissolution whereas changing acid concentration and changing the ORP had a negligible effect on dissolution. Minor differences were observed when comparing results between the two natural samples however in all cases the synthetic UO2 proved easier to extract uranium. The changes in dissolution rates between the natural ores and the synthetic uraninite was attributed to lead impurities within the natural uraninites being preferentially leached and then re-precipitated as a sulphate. The precipitated Pb sulphate was observed coating individual uraninite particles and filling pores and fractures, thus preventing further ingress of the leach solution. This study emphasises the uncertainties in extrapolating experimental results obtained using synthetic systems to studies involving real ores.
Subject Physical Chemistry not elsewhere classified
Resources Engineering and Extractive Metallurgy not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Uraninite
Uraninite dissolution
Uranium minerals processing
DOI - identifier 10.1016/j.mineng.2013.06.013
Copyright notice © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN 0892-6875
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