Comparison of resin-in-pulp and direct precipitation for recovery of uranium in alkaline leach circuits

CIM Journal, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2012

D. Van Tonder

The comparative economics of ion exchange and direct precipitation have been analyzed by developing indicative CAPEX/OPEX models for typical alkaline leach uranium circuits. An agitated tank ore leach application is considered, comparing resin-in-pulp and direct precipitation as recovery options. Capital and operating cost estimates are derived from rates and factors used in recent studies and projects. The analysis showed the main economic drivers to be the ore grade and resin loading. The resin loading is impacted by the prevalence of competing ions, especially chloride. At resin-in-pulp solution chloride concentrations below 3 g/L and uranium grade below 640 g/t U3O8, resin-in-pulp is more economical, whereas at chloride concentrations above 3 g/L, direct precipitation is more economical.
Mots Clés: Resin-in-pulp, Direct precipitation, Capital cost, Operating cost, Differential NPV