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Recovery of Cobalt From Spent Copper Leach Solution Using Continuous Ion Exchange
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    Significant amounts of cobalt are present in readily accessible spent copper leach solutions. The Bureau of Mines investigated the feasibility of extracting cobalt from these solutions in a multiple-compartment ion-exchange (MCIX) column. The effects of aqueous flow rate, resin flow rate, column height, and compartment height on cobalt extraction were determined. Cobalt extractions of 92 pct or higher were achieved at solution flow rates of up to 5.5 gpm/ft of column cross-sectional area and an aqueous-to-resin flow ratio of 40:1. Overall cobalt extraction increased as the column height increased, but cobalt extraction per unit of length was more efficient in 8-and 12-ftco1umns than in an 18-ft column. Solvent extraction procedures were utilized to purify and concentrate the MCIX column eluates and produce a cobalt sulfate solution containing 70 to 80 giL Co. Metallic cathodes containing over 99 pct Co were e1ectrowon from this solution. Zinc, nickel, and copper byproducts were also recovered during processing of the ion-exchange eluates. Estimated total capital cost for a commercial-scale 10,000 gpm of a spent leach solution containing 26 million. With credits for zinc, nickel, and copper estimated net operating cost was $9.36/lb Co.

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