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Precipitation of calcium phosphate from hydrochloric acid leach liquor of a rare earth concentrate

Senanayake, G., Kyle, J., Hunt, S., Stone, K., Perera, N. and Jayasekera, S. (2014) Precipitation of calcium phosphate from hydrochloric acid leach liquor of a rare earth concentrate. In: 7th International Symposium - Hydrometallurgy (HYDRO) 2014, 22 - 25 June 2014, Victoria, BC, Canada


A preliminary investigation has been conducted to determine the conditions for the precipitation of phosphate from the liquor produced after a hydrochloric acid pre-leach and rare-earth recovery from a rare earth containing fluorapatite concentrate from the Nolans rare earth deposit in the Northern Territory of Australia. The results show that at 50oC the phosphate can be precipitated in two stages using limestone to produce a Stage 1 precipitate containing most of the impurities including iron (94%), aluminium (92%), fluoride (98%), uranium (84%) and thorium (94%), followed by a relatively pure Stage 2 dicalcium phosphate precipitate (DCP) containing only 0.05% Fe, 0.05% Al, 0.1% F, 0.01% U, and <0.01% Th. The initial Stage 1 precipitate contained about 25% of the phosphate while the remaining 75% reported to the Stage 2 phosphate precipitate. Depending on the required radioactivity specifications, the amount of phosphate in the Stage 1 precipitate could be reduced. Reagent requirements were 11.4 kg limestone (as pure CaCO3) per cubic metre of solution for the Stage 1 precipitate and 39.7 kg limestone (as pure CaCO3) per cubic metre for Stage 2. The analysis of radionuclide balance indicated that radionuclides deported mainly to the final filtrate (86.4%) compared to Stage 1 precipitate (5.4%) and Stage 2 precipitate (8.2%). Settling and pressure filtration tests indicated the precipitates were both readily settled and filtered. The final moisture contents of the Stage 1 and Stage 2 precipitates were 62.5% and 49.3%, respectively.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
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