Real-time analysis of base metals in Cu and Zn solvent extraction processes

Solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX/EW) are a twostage hydrometallurgy technique within the field of extractive metallurgy to obtain metals from their ores and convert to a pure metal cathode, ready for use in industry. SX/EW processing is best known for its use by the base metals industry (copper, zinc), but this technology is also successfully applied to a wide range of other metals including cobalt, nickel and uranium.

Solvent extraction involves the use of aqueous solutions for the recovery of metals from ores, concentrates, and recycled or residual materials. These processes require a lot of energy and chemicals. Constant monitoring enables pro-active reaction of operations on changes in raw materials and lead to a more efficient use of resources. Solvents i.e. concentrated sulphuric acid (pH 0 – 2) are not easy to handle and require specific safety and environmental regulations. Real-time analysis does not require sample taking and handling by operators and ensures safer work conditions.

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