The new uranium recovery circuit at Blyvooruitzicht

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 805, 1979

D. W. BOYDELL Atomic Energy Board of South Africa, P. A. LAXEN National Institute for Metallurgy, D. W. BOSCH Rand Mines Limited, W. M. CRAIG Atomic Energy Board of South Africa

The response of reclaimed gold tailings to acid leaching was investigated in the laboratory, followed by a pilot-plant program in which the operations of CCD, ClX and SX were tested with plant feed material.These results formed the basis for the design of the extension to the existing uranium plant at Blyvooruitzicht Gold Mine, commissioned in July 1977. This circuit consists of slimes-dam reclamation by bucket-wheel excavator at a rate of 100,000 t solids per month, acid leaching in pachucas, a five-stage CCD washing section, two parallel CIX absorption columns and two elution columns, SX and an ADUprecipitation section. Barren solution is recycled to the CCD section as wash and to the repulper at the slimes dam. The performance of the plant during the first year of operation is compared with the predictions on which the plant design wasbased. Rated capacity was achieved within three weeks of start-up at a nominal dissolved uranium recovery in the ion-exchange section of around 98%. Owing to recycle, the over-all recovery in the ion-exchange and solvent extraction sections is somewhat higher than this figure.
Keywords: Hydrometallurgy, Uranium recovery, Blyvooruitzicht Mine, Tailings, Gold tailings, Leaching, Acid leaching, Ion exchange, Solvent extraction, CIX systems, CCD circuits, Oxidants.