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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X


YAHORAVA, V.; KOTZE, M.  and  AUERSWALD, D.. Evaluation of different adsorbents for copper removal from cobalt electrolyte. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2014, vol.114, n.5, pp.383-390. ISSN 2411-9717.

Ion exchange is considered to be an effective technology for the removal of various impurities from cobalt advance electrolytes. With the correct choice of resin, ion exchange can consistently remove the required impurities to the levels for the production of high-grade cobalt metal. Although ion exchange was in the past used primarily for nickel removal, more recently it has been also considered for the removal of copper, zinc, and cadmium. Generally, granular ion exchange products are used, but Mintek is currently evaluating ion exchange fibres for a number of applications, including the removal of copper from cobalt advance electrolytes. Fibrous ion exchangers have major advantages compared to granular resins in that they have significantly higher reaction rates, and wash water volumes could be limited. Granular and fibrous ion exchangers were evaluated and compared for the removal of copper from cobalt advance electrolyte. A synthetic electrolyte containing 50 g/L cobalt and 50 mg/L copper was used for the test work. Equilibrium isotherms, mini-column tests, and split elution tests were done. The results were used to size a full-scale operation to treat 100 m3/h of electrolyte. The potential cobalt losses or recycle requirements were estimated, and data to calculate indicative operating costs for each adsorbent was generated. This information was used for a techno-economic comparison of granular and fibrous ion exchange systems for the removal of copper from cobalt advance electrolyte.

Keywords : ion exchange; impurity removal; copper; cobalt electrolyte.

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