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JSC PIMCU continues implementing new technologies enabling reduction of uranium chain costs
Field pilot tests of the optimized uranium ore processing technology completed at the JSC PIMCU Hydrometallurgy Plant. “An operating mode, enabling us to achieve guaranteed reduction of manganese dioxide consumption from 6 to 3 kg per 1 ton of ore, has been worked out. A standard value integrated into the 2015 target has already been 2.5 kg per ton,” says Aleksandr Morozov, Head of the JSC PIMCU Central Research and Development Laboratory.
Simultaneously, engineering preparation for introducing a process flow scheme has been launched at the Hydrometallurgy Plant. This scheme will make it possible to increase volumes of ore processed with the use of the X-ray radiometric enrichment method. The method involves delivering ore lumps, sized from 40 to 80 mm and from 80 to 200 mm, on a conveyor belt to a separator, where they are exposed to X-rays. Intensity of backscatter radiation is used to determine uranium content. Lumps with the content below the threshold are sent to a mining waste bin, while those with the content above the threshold are subject to hydrometallurgical processing. “This technology allows excluding low-content ore from the process of expensive hydrometallurgical treatment, which means that the enterprise will not bear superfluous costs associated with chemical agents and energy resources,” explains Valery Litvinenko, Chief Process Engineer, JSC PIMCU.
At Mine No.8, a technology for selective mining of ore during the development of layered deposits is being worked out. This method makes it possible to break down only useful ore, leaving rock volumes intact. Approbation of the method has confirmed that the scope of drifting operations is being cut by at least one third. Due to fewer workings, backfilling volumes are also reduced.
Cumulative economic benefits gained through the implementation of these technologies will exceed RUR 350 mln annually.