URANIUM IN SITU RECOVERY TECHNOLOGY
The new generation of uranium in situ recovery technology is capable of extracting uranium at a very low cost. In situ recovery (ISR) is a uranium mining technique that recovers uranium from ore by dissolving it and pumping it to the surface. ISR is also known as in-situ leaching (ISL), solution mining, or saline leaching. The uranium in the orebody remains in place and all the mining takes place underground. ISR technology can also be used for other heavy metals such as copper, gold, and silver.
The Ore Bed
The ore body in uranium in situ recovery (UISR) technology is a uranium ore bed, in which the uranium is found in a sufficiently high concentration to make mining the ore economically feasible. The ore bed is usually a sandstone or carbonate rock formation, with uranium distributed throughout. UISR mining recovers the uranium by dissolving it in a chemical solution and pumping it to the surface for subsequent refining.
In the ISR process, uranium is converted to a water-soluble uranyl cation, UO 2 +, and an insoluble uranyl carbonate compound, UO 2 CO 3 . The insoluble uranium carbonate is then removed from the water by precipitation with oxalic acid or by ion exchange for final recovery of the uranium.
Criteria to allow recovery with the ISR process:
Given the ISR process, several factors and criteria must be considered from an economic standpoint before any final decision is made to proceed with developing a recovery process. The ISR process is not only designed to be cost-effective, but it is also designed to create a product that is of a high quality and is safe for the environment.
Wellfield and Production of Uranium
Wellfield Energy Corporation is a uranium producer with its project located in South-Central Wyoming. The Company’s operations are focused on the development and production of uranium deposits. The Company has one mine, which includes two uranium mills, and one uranium recovery.
Wellfield Energy, Inc. continues to advance its uranium business in the Athabasca Basin, which is among the world's highest-grade uranium deposits. Since December 2016, Wellfield has increased its land position in the Athabasca Basin to over 5,000 acres under lease. In addition, Wellfield has signed a definitive agreement with Uranium Participation Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of NPC, to acquire the rights to acquire up to 48% of Wellfield's future production from the Patterson Lake South uranium project. The cash consideration for this transaction is $5 million payable upon completion of a feasibility study or other development milestone, with the remaining $5 million to be paid upon the first uranium production.
Surface Facilities: Ion Exchange, Elution, Precipitation, and Drying
Surface Facilities: Ion Exchange, Elution, Precipitation, and Drying are important parts to the process of mining uranium. The most important part of the entire process, however, is the separation of the uranium from the other by products. There are many different ways of doing this, but the easiest and most expensive is by using an ion exchange column.
Ion exchange is a process whereby ions (charged atoms) are exchanged between a solid (usually a resin or synthetic polymer) and a solution of ions. The ion exchange process is used to elucidate the chemistry of ionic species in solution, to remove an unwanted component, or to recover a component which may be present in a desired form. Elution is a separation technique that uses a solvent to dissolve a compound of interest and to separate it from a solution containing many other compounds. Usually, elution is followed by a step that precipitates or crystallizes the desired compound from the eluent (the solution that contained it). Elution is also an important step in chromatography, where it is called "column elution."
REMOTE ION EXCHANGE (“RIX”)
In the simplest terms, the term “ion exchange” is used to describe the chemical processes that occur when a solution containing ions is passed through a resin material that binds to and retains the target ions. While the ion exchange process can occur in aqueous or non-aqueous solutions, the two most common ion exchange application involve water-based processes—water softening and water treatment—and the exchange of metal ions for hydrogen ions in a process called RIX.
Remote Ion Exchange (“RIX”) is a process for removing uranium from water using a Hyper Flow Hydrometallurgical Recovery process. RIX is a proprietary technology developed and owned by HFX for the recovery of uranium from aqueous solutions. It is one of the most effective, low cost uranium recovery processes currently available.