Hydrometallurgy involves the use of chemical methods for the recovery of metals from ores, mineral concentrates, solutions and waste streams. The general steps involve leaching, solution purification and metal recovery.
Hydrometallurgy is an area of testing in which Met-Solve truly excels. All members of Met-Solve’s project team have extensive experience in a wide range of hydrometallurgical processes, including:
- Bench scale leaching: cyanide, acid, alkali, chloride, ammonium
- Column leaching
- Intensive leach reactor testing
- Solvent Extraction
- Ion Exchange
- Novel research and application
Bench Scale Leaching Applications
Leaching is typically the first stage in applying hydrometallurgy to a given material in order to extract a target mineral into solution. Cyanide leaching is most commonly applied to gold ores while other target minerals may require acid, alkali, chloride, ammonium, or other novel types of leaching. Bottle roll tests are standard bench scale test for leaching, with long term column leach programs used to determine heap leaching applications. Some projects may benefit from potentially utilizing intensive leach reactors as well.
Continuous Ion Exchange – from Wastewater to Hydromet
While ion exchange resins have been used extensively in the waste water treatment industry, the high tenor solutions generated in hydrometallurgical systems often made the application of this technology unfeasible in this field. However, with the advent of continuous ion exchange (CIX) systems and improvements in resin characteristics, the use of ion exchange is now gaining a foothold in the hydromet field.
Met-Solve has conducted numerous test programs using a variety of resins, incorporating novel chemistries, for recovery and purification of metals from leach solutions and waste streams.
Electrowinning is one method of recovering purified target mineral from solution. Within a reactor electrical current is applied to a solution in order to reduce metal ions and plate out the resultant metal onto the cathode. Dependent on the leach solution properties, some metals will respond better to electrowinning than others and may require additional processing in order to determine flowsheet design.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HYDROMETALLURGICAL TESTING: CONTACT US