PATENT PENDING: U3O8 files application for recovery of uranium, phosphate, vanadium and rare earths
U3O8 Corp. and its associate, Sulphide Resource Processing, have filed an international patent application for a two-step metallurgical process using an initial ferric iron leach followed by an acid wash that was developed for the extraction of uranium, phosphate, vanadium, rare earths and other metals at U3O8’s Berlin project in Colombia.
The method is simple and efficient according to U3O8 president and CEO Dr. Richard Spencer. “Of added note, U3O8 Corp’s patent could dovetail with a patent application recently filed by another company, which specifically covers the use of bioleaching (using bacteria) as a means of generating ferric iron and its application for metal removal in the water treatment industry.”
The new process has two steps. First, whole are is treated in a ferric leach that creates a pregnant solution bearing most of the metals and phosphate. Second, the iron that precipitates in the first step is washed with a dilute acid to liberate additional metals and phosphate. Approximately 140 kg of acid and 100 kg of ferric iron per tonne of ore are estimated to be required for the new ferric leach process, which compares to consumption of between 600 kg/t and 700 kg/t of acid for conventional ferric leach or conventional acid leach alone.