Understanding uranium deposit behaviour to progress in-situ recovery implementation in WA
Total Grant Value
To assess the feasibility of in-situ uranium recovery from the sandstone-hosted Bennet Well deposit in Western Australia required a chemical assessment of the ore body.
This includes an understanding of the ore’s chemical composition, mineralogy and its response to chemical solvents.
The main non-ore mineral present in the Bennet Well uranium deposit is quartz, along with lower abundances of K-feldspar, kaolinite, muscovite and chlorite.
The most effective solvent for extracting uranium from the ore minerals present was sulfuric acid, although this was inhibited by pH-modifying effect of chlorite dissolution.
Multiple common ion-exchange resins were found to be suitable for uranium recovery from solvent fluids, with the reactions that control uranium leaching in the experimental column identified by reactive transport modelling.
Benefit to WA
An economically viable process for in-situ recovery of Uranium from the remote Bennet Well deposit would support the development of this ore deposit.
With a change in legislation allowing such a mining venture to proceed, it could deliver employment through construction, mining and processing operations at the site, and provide a new royalty stream for the state.
Keywords: in-situ recovery, uranium, leaching, ion-exchange, hydrogeology, reactive transport modelling
Page was last reviewed 17 June 2021