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Uranium ore beneficiation process (2nd part)
Aug 15, 2018

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Physical beneficiation

Some uranium ores are physically demineralized prior to hydrometallurgical processing, which has three effects:

1. Improve the uranium grade by the water and metallurgy process and abandon part of the tailings.

In physical beneficiation technology of the uranium ore, radioactive sorting has been successful. The principle process of radioactive sorting has usually two-stages:

In the first stage, the ore is transported to a radioactive inspection station for sorting by a mine car or truck, the ore is sent to a water and metallurgical plant, and the waste rock is used as a filling;


In the second stage, select from the radioactive inspection station and be transported to the radioactive Dressing Process.jpgsorting plant. After crushing, sieving and washing, it enters the radioactive sorting machine and is divided into concentrate and abandoned tailings. Modern radioactive sorting machine can handle particle sizes from 20 to 160 mm.


In order to improve the ore grade by water and metallurgy processing, some factories also adopt other physical beneficiation methods:

1) Gravity separation can discard some tailings;

2) Fine poor ore or radioactively sorted poor middle ore can be enriched by flotation after being crushed.

3) For magnetic uranium minerals, enrichment can be performed by magnetic separation.


Some countries are stepping up research into uranium processes that produce “clean” tailings and no waste emissions due to environmental pollution from tailings. Canada's uranium ore in the Elliott Lake area was first subjected to sulfide ore flotation and strong magnetic separation, which not only improved the grade of uranium, but also recovered radium and pyrite (the former is the radioactive source of tailings, the latter is the pollution source of the radioactive acid produced by bacteria action).  


2. Grouping the original ore and making the water and metallurgy processing separately.

magnetic separation.jpgSome uranium ores contain various components such as carbonates and sulfides. If directly do acid leaching or alkali leaching, the reagent consumption will be high, and the uranium leaching rate is low. First, group the raw ore by flotation, and then separately make water and metallurgy processed, which can greatly reduce the consumption of reagents and increase the uranium leaching rate.


3. Comprehensively recover the useful components.

Comprehensively recover the uranium, gold and pyrite in quartz, pebbles, conglomerate ore with uranium-gold symbiosis. The order of recovery is:  

First, recover gold after uranium, or uranium first and gold later, and finally flotation of pyrite; Or first float the pyrite, then extract uranium from the concentrate and tailings after flotation.


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