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Project Overview

Project Number
M0418
Total Grant Value
$1,490,000
MRIWA Contribution
$180,000
Project Theme
Processing Technology
Project Period
2010 - 2013

This project is an extension to M401.

The Challenge

Solvent extraction is widely used in producing metals including cobalt, copper, nickel, platinum group metals and rare earth elements.

The fundamental processes by which solvents interact with ore materials in liberating these commodity metals are not well understood, which restricts the capacity to control and improve the performance of solvent extraction systems.

Key Findings

A range of practical insights supporting the evaluation and optimisation of industrial solvent extraction from metal ores were identified. This included an understanding of the entrainment of physical material in solvent flows, and the liquid flow patterns in large-scale settlers.

Physical models developed in this work have identified mechanisms for reducing the entrainment of solid material in solvent flow.

This new understanding was applied in a site-based review of liquid flow patterns in large-scale settlers, delivering improved understanding of solvent extraction processes in operating plants.

Benefits to WA

Solvent extraction can be an efficient and cost-effective means of processing and purifying mineral products.

The enhanced understanding of solvent extraction delivered through this research will support assessment of the suitability and performance of this process, helping identify and support the development of operations across the state where solvent extraction can help mineral processing achieve economic viability.


Keywords: solvent extraction, mixer-settler, CFD modelling, improved probes

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Page was last reviewed 17 June 2021

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