Uranium milling in northern Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin: Past, present and future

CIM Journal, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2012
C. Edwards
Abstract Milling operations in northern Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin have produced uranium continuously since 1975. During that period, the Athabasca Basin has been one of the world’s premier uranium camps, yielding more than 660 million lb (299,370,964 kg) of U3O8. In this paper, the author describes former and current milling operations and discusses why and how the milling process has changed and developed over the past 35 years. The author’s considerations for the future of uranium extraction in the Athabasca Basin conclude the paper.
Keywords: Uranium, Milling, Saskatchewan, Athabasca Basin
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Publication: CIM Journal
Issue: 2
Volume: 3
Year: 2012
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Summary: The use of strong base resins for uranium recovery is severely affected by the presence of chloride ions in solution. In areas where high-quality process water is not readily available, the use of saline water would extend the potential application for ion exchange in uranium processing. This study presents measurements of uranium uptake, using a wide range of commercially available weak base anionic exchangers, from solutions with chloride concentrations ranging from 2.5 to 22 g/L Cl. Out of...
Publication: CIM Journal
Author(s): M. Fainerman-Melnikova and K. Soldenhoff
Keywords: Uranium, Ion exchange, Weak base anionic resins, Chloride, Function group, Polyamine
Issue: 2
Volume: 3
Year: 2012
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Summary: The comparative economics of ion exchange and direct precipitation have been analyzed by developing indicative CAPEX/OPEX models for typical alkaline leach uranium circuits. An agitated tank ore leach application is considered, comparing resin-in-pulp and direct precipitation as recovery options. Capital and operating cost estimates are derived from rates and factors used in recent studies and projects. The analysis showed the main economic drivers to be the ore grade and resin loading. The...
Publication: CIM Journal
Author(s): D. Van Tonder
Keywords: Resin-in-pulp, Direct precipitation, Capital cost, Operating cost, Differential NPV
Issue: 2
Volume: 3
Year: 2012
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Summary: The numerous global uranium deposits vary significantly in mineralogy, grade, and textural characteristics; therefore, information from traditional (or conventional) sources on the fundamentals of leaching uranium and gangue minerals is not always applicable when studying particular ores. Empirical studies can be effective in understanding leach systems and can lead to improvements in process design but there remains a lack of fundamental understanding necessary for ongoing process optimizati...
Publication: CIM Journal
Author(s): M. Maley, S. Burling, and R. Ring
Keywords: Leaching, Mineral processing, Uranium leaching, Australia, Oxidation reduction potential, ORP
Issue: 2
Volume: 3
Year: 2012
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Summary: The Caetité-Brazil uranium facility produces approximately 400 tonnes U3O8 per year from an ore averaging 0.29% U3O8. The process steps are ore crushing, heap leaching with sulphuric acid, uranium separation and purification by solvent extraction (SX) with a tertiary amine, followed by stripping with a sodium chloride solution, precipitation as ammonium diuranate (ADU), and product drying. A change in the milling process is being evaluated to increase production and uranium recovery. Heap...
Publication: CIM Journal
Author(s): C. A. de Morais, H. M. Lima and L. A. Gomiero
Keywords: Brazil, Uranium extraction, Heap leach, Plant expansion
Issue: 2
Volume: 3
Year: 2012
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Summary: Aurora Energy Ltd. is considering a 10,000 t/d process plant to produce 97 million lb (43,998,460 kg) of U3O8 over a 17-year project from uranium deposits in coastal Labrador. This paper summarizes the test work, mostly done by SGS Mineral Services in Lakefield, Ontario, and the economic studies supporting flowsheet selection. The proposed flowsheet includes semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) and ball milling, acid leaching using air/SO2 as an oxidant, and resin-in-pulp (RIP) extraction of...
Publication: CIM Journal
Author(s): J. R. Goode, J. A. Brown
Keywords: Uranium, Extraction, RIP, Resin-in-pulp, Michelin, Labrador, Testwork, Pilot plant, Air/SO2 oxidant, LAIX
Issue: 2
Volume: 3
Year: 2012
Text
Summary: The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment recognizes the importance of environmental protection as an important contributor to Saskatchewan’s economy, with the environmental performance of industry closely monitored. Unfortunately, environmental regulation is often accompanied by significant process that does not always add value to environmental protection activities. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment has embarked on a visionary restructuring of its regulatory framework from convention...
Publication: CIM Journal
Author(s): M. B. Wittrup and K. M. Murphy
Keywords: Results-based regulation, Environmental code, Qualified persons, Uranium
Issue: 2
Volume: 3
Year: 2012
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