The Application of Hatch Customised Technology to Solvent Extraction Circuit Design

Author(s) C. Panaou, S. Poulter, E. Robles, K. Gottliebsen
EMC Dusseldorf, Germany January 26, 2011


Solvent Extraction is used extensively in the metallurgical industry for the purification and recovery of a wide range of metals. A customized approach to the design of the pump mixers, auxiliary mixers, feed launder and settlers ensure each component within the circuit is optimized. The use of analytical tools such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and combined with hydraulic models ensures the settler has an even flow distribution with reduced pumping head requirements. Organic and aqueous entrainments impacts on both the operating costs and final product purity. Costly secondary treatment equipment such as after settlers and coalescers are often used to reduce the level of organic or aqueous reporting to the next stage in a circuit.

The creation of the organic/aqueous phase dispersion and subsequent separation and collection of the separate phases is critical to the performance of any solvent extraction circuit. Optimization of he droplet size distribution, reducing the head loss through the system and even flow distribution all contribute to an improved circuit design.

Reduced settling areas in greenfield applications and increased throughput in brownfield applications are possible through the custom design and retrofit of mixer-settler components. Existing operations may be debottlenecked at minimal capital cost through the modification of settler components to improve the hydraulics of the system thereby increasing throughput and reducing operating costs.

The current paper presents the methodology and outcomes from using a Hatch Customised Solvent Extraction Technology (Hatch CSXT) design approach in greenfield and brownfield designs.