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The extraction of uranium from brannerite – A literature review

Gilligan, R. and Nikoloski, A.N. (2015) The extraction of uranium from brannerite – A literature review. Minerals Engineering, 71 . pp. 34-48.

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As high grade and easily processed uranium ore deposits are exhausted it will become necessary to mine and process lower grade and refractory ore deposits to fuel the world's nuclear reactors and satisfy societal needs for energy. Brannerite is the most abundant of the refractory uranium minerals. It is a uranium titanate with the ideal chemical formula of UTi2O6, though the exact composition varies widely with thorium and light rare earths often replacing uranium. A more general formula for it would be (U, Ca, Y, Ce, La)(Ti, Fe)2O6. Uranium ores containing brannerite mineralisation have been processed in several mines including two active uranium mines in Australia and several uranium-gold mines in the Witwatersrand area of South Africa. Ores in which brannerite is the main uranium mineral have been mined and processed in the Elliot Lake region of Ontario, Canada. Brannerite is present in significant concentrations in many uranium and rare earth element deposits including some of the uranium deposits located near Mount Isa in Queensland, the Crocker Well deposit in South Australia, the Elkon uranium province in Jakutia, eastern Russia, and in some uranium-gold ores from the Witwatersrand area of South Africa. While less reactive than other uranium minerals, brannerite can be leached under relatively practicable conditions. This literature review provides an overview of the mineralogy and leaching behaviour of brannerite reported in studies conducted to date, in order to help understand its dissolution mechanism and establish the required processing strategy.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
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