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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research projects > Previous projects > Environment > New methods and reagents for efficient metal extraction
Graphic element New methods and reagents for efficient metal extraction
     
 
Chelate complexes, used as collectors during flotation, achieve maximum metal recovery at five to 10 times lower concentrations than conventional collectors and at neutral pH.
 

Modern metal extraction involves the use of trace compounds known as collectors which help to separate metal ions, particularly those with complex chemical structures, from their naturally occurring ores during the flotation process. Traditional xanthate collectors work at high pH values and produce high-alkaline waste, the proper disposal of which is expensive and time-consuming. In addition, large amounts of water, energy and mineral resources are used.

Pyrometallurgy, the other conventional method of producing copper from ore, also produces acid rain.

This project was aimed at developing better and more efficient collectors for use in metal extraction. The newly described chelate complexes achieve maximum metal recovery at five to 10 times lower concentrations than conventional collectors and at neutral pH, representing significant savings in terms of the cost of the collector materials themselves and in the cost of lime compounds which are typically used to maintain high pH.

Project partners say the principal impact of their work will be environmental in nature. Consulting is already being provided to interested industrial organisations.

Cordis RCN: 22823
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