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MEI Online: Hydrometallurgy: Latest News: September 29th 2010


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:: Uranium Plant to Make Use of Novel MetRIXTM Technology

Bateman Engineering is undertaking the feasibility study for Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited's (Harmony) TPM uranium project, which has the potential to recover uranium from 280,000 t/month of ore arising from three existing shafts, Tshepong, Phakisa and Masimong, located in South Africa's Free State province.

Bateman Engineering completed the prefeasibility study for the project in 2009, during which a flowsheet, including partial pressure leach for reagent production, uranium extraction using resin-in-pulp (RIP) and purification by solvent extraction (SX), was shown to offer considerable cost advantages and was subsequently selected by Harmony.

The RIP process recovers uranium directly from leached pulp, which eliminates the need for a solid-liquid separation step and offers significant capital and operating cost savings along with the potential of increased uranium recovery.

Because it is fully continuous, the MetRIX™ RIP technology, developed jointly by Bateman Engineering and the South African minerals research institute, Mintek, is very suitable to this application and has been included in the flowsheet for the feasibility study. In order for the performance of the MetRIX™ RIP technology to be demonstrated under actual plant conditions, Harmony also awarded an EPC contract to Bateman Engineering for a RIP demonstration plant, which commenced in June 2010.

Market recognition of Bateman Engineering's extensive uranium process design and engineering capabilities has resulted in the company being awarded a number of major projects in recent years, including the Uranium One plant in South Africa and work on Areva Resources' Trekkopje Midi and Maxi plants in Namibia. Bateman's expertise covers all the unit operations in a typical uranium flowsheet, including atmospheric and pressure leaching, solid-liquid separation, solution purification and uranium precipitation. In addition, Bateman Engineering is a pioneer in the use of ion exchange and SX to recover uranium from pregnant leach solutions, with the performance of SX circuits being enhanced by application of proprietary Bateman Pulsed Column and Bateman Settler™ technologies.




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