Mukhachev A.P., Yelatontsev D.O., Nefedov V.G. Industrial technology of processing carbonaceous uranium ore in Ukraine

Geoteh. meh. 2021, 158, 84-102



1Mukhachev A.P., 2Yelatontsev D.O., 3Nefedov V.G.

1Institute of Geotechnical Mechanics named by N. Poljakov of NAS of Ukraine, 2Dniprovsk State Technical University MES of Ukraine, 3Ukrainian State University of Chemical Technology

UDC 669.822:544.77.052.22

Language: English

Abstract. The purpose of the study was to represent the results of the first industrial tests of the technology for processing uranium carbonate ore with a target component content of 0.3%, by selective carbonate leaching with the separation of the uranium-containing solution from the rock, in the processes of thickening and decantation with using flocculants. This study was carried out to find out more effective flocculating reagents. Experimental data were collected from industrial slurries with the addition of polyacrylamide-based flocculants. The study showed that leaching in sodium carbonate media provided a high degree of purity of the product because metals impurities during leaching did not pass into solution. In line with earlier research, the process studies have confirmed the hypothesis that replacing of low-performance disc filters with automatic settling tanks significantly reduces labor and energy consumption. The results of the study convincingly show that the scheme for processing carbonate uranium ore made it possible to reduce the time of personnel contact with toxic and radioactive products. The main technical and economic indicators of the decantation scheme are given, methods for improving the decantation washing of uranium from pulps are described. Methods for more efficient use of flocculants and reduction of their consumption are proposed. Optimal modes of the process allowed to increase productivity and reduce production costs by 10% at the expense to reduce the consumption of electricity and steam, decommission energy-intensive vacuum pumps and filters. At the same time, the average extraction of uranium in the commercial solution – 90%. The results obtained can be applied in the uranium mining industry. To increase the productivity of the decantation scheme, further tests of new flocculating reagents, methods of their introduction are necessary; it is also of practical interest to study the conditions of flocculation depending on the salt composition of the washing solutions.  
Keywords: uranium ore, flocculant, polyacrylamide, leaching, filtration, sedimentation rate.


1. Namazov, Sh.S., Beglov, B.M., Seitnazarov, A.R., Dekhkanov, Z.K. and Abdukodirov, E.A. (2017), “Enrichment of natural phosphate raw materials”, Chemical Journal of Kazakhstan, no. 2, pp. 204-226.

2. Svetlov, A.V. (2018), “Development of beneficiation methods for complex objects of non-ferrous metallurgy in the Murmansk region”, Mineralogy of Technogenesis, no. 19, pp. 205-216.

3. Yakubovich, I.A. (1961), “The flocculation of pulp and polyacrylamide-type flocculants”, The Soviet Journal of Atomic Energy, vol. 8, no. 6, pp. 449–454.

4. Petukhov, V.I. (ed.) (2016), Kompleksnoe ustoychivoe upravlenie otkhodami. Gornodobyvayushchaya promyshlennost [Integrated sustainable waste management. Mining industry], Academy of Natural Sciences, Moscow, Russia.

5. Allabergenov, R.D. (2012), Fundamentalnaya i prikladnaya gidrometallurgiya [Fundamental and applied hydrometallurgy]. State Enterprise "Scientific Research Institute of Mineral Resources", Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

6. Serajuddin, M. and Sreenivas, T. (2015), "Application of response surface method of optimization in flocculant assisted filtration of uranium bearing alkaline leach slurry of limestone origin", Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy, vol. 124, pp. 199-207.

7. Serajuddin, M., Rao, K.A. and Sreenivas, T. (2016), "Studies on optimization of parameters for dewatering of ground calcite-rich ore", Russian Journal of Non-Ferrous Metals, vol. 57, no. 4, pp. 273-286.

8. Kozhura, O.V., Pasenko, A.A., Ishchenko, L.E., Pismenny, B.V. and Chuiko, T.V. (2013), “Application of the product of hydrolysis of polyacrylonitrile waste in uranium hydrometallurgy”, Voprosy khimii i khimicheskoy tekhnologii, no. 2, pp. 89-92.

9. Vitam, K.A., Hansen, M.J., Hitt, J.E., Moler, K.E. and Poindexter, M.K. (2019), Polimernye flokulyanty dlya obrabotki suspenziy mineralov [Polymeric flocculants for the treatment of suspensions of minerals], Patent Office, Moscow, Pat. № RU2685217С2.

10. Trampus, B.C. and Franca, S.C. (2020), "Performances of two flocculants and their mixtures for red mud dewatering and disposal based on mineral paste production", Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 257, 120534.

11. Wolkersdorfer, C., Nordstrom, D.K., Beckie, R.D., Cicerone, D.S., Elliot, T., Edraki, M. and Gil, A. S. (2020), "Guidance for the Integrated Use of hydrological, geochemical, and isotopic tools in mining operations", Mine Water and the Environment, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 204-228.

12. Golberg, G.Yu. (2019), "Development of the theory of formation and destruction of flocculation structures in the processes of separation of suspensions of finely dispersed products of coal concentration", D. Sc. Thesis, Institute for the Problems of Complex Development of Subsoil Academician N.V. Melnikov, Karaganda, Kazakhstan.

 13. Dhawan, N., Safarzadeh, M.S., Miller, J.D., Moats, M.S. and Rajamani, R.K. (2013), "Crushed ore agglomeration and its control for heap leach operations", Minerals Engineering, vol. 41, pp. 53-70.

14. Shakhalov, A.A., Ospanov, E.A., Naboychenko, S.S. and Fomenko, I.V. (2019), "Features of pressure oxidative leaching of substandard copper-zinc sulfide concentrates", Non-ferrous metals, vol. 1, pp. 13-19.

15. Zhang, P., Liang, H., Jin, Z. and DePaoli, D. (2017), "The ultimate mineral processing challenge: Recovery of rare earths, phosphorus and uranium from Florida phosphatic clay", Minerals and Metallurgical Processing, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 183-188.

16. Hall, S.M., Van Gosen, B.S., Paces, J.B., Zielinski, R.A. and Breit, G.N. (2019), "Calcrete uranium deposits in the Southern High Plains, USA", Ore Geology Reviews, vol. 109, pp. 50-78.

17. Mattus Jr, A.J. and Torma, A.E. (1980), "A comparison of carbonate leaching of a low-grade uranium ore at atmospheric and increased pressures", Hydrometallurgy, vol. 5, no. 2-3, pp. 179-190.

18. Zefirov, A.P., Nevsky, B.V. and Ivanov, G.F. (1962), Zavody po pererabotke uranovykh rud v kapitalisticheskikh stranakh [Uranium ore processing plants in capitalistic countries], Nedra, Moscow, SU.


About the authors:

Mukhachev Anatolii Petrovych, Candidate of Physics and Mathematics (Ph.D), Senior Researcher in Department of Vibratory Transporting Systems and Complexes, Institute of Geotechnical Mechanics named by N. Poljakov of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (IGTM of NAS of Ukraine), Dnipro, Ukraine, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Yelatontsev Dmytro Oleksandrovych, Candidate of Technical Sciences (Ph.D), Associate Professor of the Department of Chemical Technology of Inorganic Substances, Dnipro State Technical University under the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine (DSTU of MES of Ukraine), Kamianske, Ukraine, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nefedov Volodymyr Heorhiiovych, Doctor of Technical Sciences (D. Sc), Professor, Professor of the Department of Technology of Inorganic Substances and Ecology, Ukrainian State University of Chemical Technology (USUCT), Dnipro, Ukraine, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.