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The pilot unit for scandium extraction from pregnant solutions and subsequent concentrate refining was launched at JSC Dalur
The project for associated scandium extraction from pregnant solutions of the uranium mining enterprise is being implemented based on the resolution of the State Nuclear Energy Corporation Rosatom. Specialists of the Engineering Centre of ARMZ Uranium Holding Co. - JSC VNIPIpromtekhnologii are engaged in technology development.
“Our laboratory studies showed that pregnant solutions contain 1 mg of scandium per 30 mg of uranium. That is commercial contents. At the second stage, in accordance with the approved project implementation plan, we had to solve the problem of rare earth metal rough concentrate treatment from radionuclides. And we solved it having developed the multistage extraction process”, - told Aleksey Starodumov, general director of JSC VNIPIpromtekhnologii.
Please note that the presence of scandium at uranium fields mined by in-situ underground leaching method in the Kurgan region has been known for quite a long time. The problem was connected namely with the technology. Now it has been developed. The pilot unit is designed for 400 kg capacity of rare earth metal per annum.
“We must calculate the consumption of chemicals, electrical power and other resources making the scandium extraction process optimum. After that, we will be able to start pilot commercial development, design the industrial unit and a small workshop connected with the main production building of the plant, for its location”, - added Aleksey Starodumov. In his opinion, the total scandium mining volume in the Kurgan region may make up to 10 t per year. Previously, prior to project implementation start, the maximum volume was assumed at the level of 1.5 t of rare earth metal.
Like uranium, scandium rough concentrate is planned to be transferred to plants of JSC TVEL comprising State Corporation Rosatom for use in the nuclear industry.