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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 2225-6253


MAKUA, L.; LANGA, K.; SAGURU, C.  and  NDLOVU, S.. PGM recovery from a pregnant leach solution using solvent extraction and cloud point extraction: a preliminary comparison. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2019, vol.119, n.5, pp.453-458. ISSN 2411-9717.

Global demand for the three platinum group metals (PGMs) Pt, Pd, and Rh has been steadily growing due to their widespread use in emission control, industrial catalysis, and numerous other applications. The primary supply of PGMs is currently the mining industry. However, legislative, operational, and environmental challenges faced by many mining operations result in erratic supply patterns and deficits for these three metals. Naturally, recycling scrap material to recover Pt, Pd, and Rh has therefore aroused research interest in the scientific and engineering communities. Given that the majority of the global demand for these three metals is driven by emission control devices, autocatalytic converters are therefore a significant source of already processed and beneficiated PGMs for recycling. Although pyrometallurgical processes dominate the recycling industry, hydrometallurgical processes may offer certain advantages, chief among these being lower emissions and reduced energy consumption. In this investigation, scrap converter material was leached in acidic chloride media and the leach liquor subjected to solvent extraction and cloud point extraction (CPE) to recover the PGMs. The recoveries for Pt and Pd using Alamine 308® dissolved in kerosene with decanol as a modifier were 95% and 81%, respectively. The maximum recoveries using CPE after complexation with 2-mercaptobenzothiazole (2-MBT) in the presence of Triton X-100 and tin (II) chloride dihydrate as a reductant were 97% for Pd, 96% for Pt, and 91% for Rh. This demonstrates that CPE, although relatively new, may have some potential as a breakthrough PGM recovery technology.

Keywords : platinum group metals; recycling; hydrometallurgy; chloride leaching; solvent extraction; cloud point extraction.

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