Ion exchange is a process typically used extensively in the wastewater industry that has wide ranging application in the mining industry to recover valuable metals from solution.
The principle of ion exchange for mining applications is that certain dissolved metals in solution can be selectively recovered onto a targeted resin over other dissolved elements in solution. The recovered metals can then be stripped off the resin by contact with acid or alkali to generate a concentrated, purified, metal solution stream for further processing to saleable products.
Example in practice – Copper, a high value metal, can be recovered from process or tailings water in copper mines by using a chelating IDA resin such as Lanxess Lewatit MonoPlus TP 207. This resin is highly selective for Cu2+ over many other typical elements in mining process waters (see below selectivity order). Very high recovery of Cu from solution can be achieved, down to discharge concentrations of 2-10 mg/L. The Cu can then be stripped off the resin with sulphuric acid to generate a concentrated copper sulphate solution which can be processed to various end products. Feed Cu tenors as low as 25 mg/L can be processed via Ion Exchange, which makes IX suitable for tailings and process water scavenging applications.
Lanxess Lewatit MonoPlus TP207 Ion Selectivity Order
Fe3+ > Cu2+ > (VO)2+ > (UO2)2+ > Pb2+ > Ni2+ > Zn2+ > Cd2+ > Fe2+ > Mn2+ > Ca2+ > Mg2+ >> Na+
Core has project experience in the following key applications:
Core has the equipment and expertise to facilitate both batch and continuous IX testing and piloting:
Core has entered a joint venture with X GROUP, forming Core IPEX. This gives Core access to the vanadium ion exchange expertise and technologies developed by the X GROUP for producing high purity vanadium products, such as vanadyl sulphate and ammonium metavanadate. Core IPEX can design, construct and commission ion exchange plants and X GROUP currently run a continuous Vanadium IX production plant in South Africa from fly ash waste.
Through the Core IPEX joint venture, Core has access to the X GROUP’s engineering and manufacturing capabilities, as well as their strong operational experience. Core IPEX can take an IX project from proof-of-concept stage to engineering, manufacturing, commissioning and provide operational support. X GROUP can manufacture modular containerised IX plants in South Africa which reduce installation and commissioning time and costs.
Three key examples of IX plants built and operated by X GROUP are as follows:
Ion exchange has a wide range of applications for metal recovery and purification in hydrometallurgical flowsheets. Core can assist with any aspect of ion exchange, from evaluation of target tailings ponds to configuration of ion exchange unit operations within hydromet flowsheets.
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