Utilization of Surfactants to Separate Solids from Organic in SX

Jenkins, Jackson G. ; Whitman, Brent A. ; Witt, Joel K. ; Gort, Wendy M.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
A major concern for operators of leaching/SX-EW plants is a phenomenon known as gunk or crud. The build up of gunk is typically the result of fine particulates which are transported via the leach operation to the solvent extraction plant. The particulates develop into a solid layer that concentrates at the aqueous/organic interface. This can cause phase separation problems which can result in entrainment and other deleterious operating conditions. Most operations physically remove the gunk from the SX settlers and process it via a centrifuge or coalescer to remove valuable organic. While both methods have served for many years, Magma is currently evaluating the use of a chemical surfactant which induces a definitive separation of particulates from organic.
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