Although solvent extraction seems to be easy to operate in hydrometallurgical processes, its implementation can be difficult and costly. In order to reduce capital and operation expenditures, two approaches can be implemented: (i) an empiric approach that relies on feedbacks and experiment design for optimizing operational parameters, and (ii) more rigorous approach that relies on the comprehension of the physicochemistry taking place during process operation.
For the sake of illustration, this conference will address two cases:
- the comprehension of the physicochemical phenomena responsible for the chemical degradation of the extraction solvent during liquid-liquid extraction of uranium from acidic sulfate media in order to keep high uranium extraction efficiency,
- the development of a new extractant for the recovery of uranium from wet phosphoric acid by means of a rational approach combining modelling of uranium extraction and investigation of uranium speciation in extraction solvent.