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ArticleName Extraction of niobium and tantalum during bismutotantalite decomposition by mineral acids
DOI 10.17580/tsm.2018.01.03
ArticleAuthor Gromov P. B., Muzhdabaeva M. A., Kopkova E. K., Serba N. V.

I. V. Tananaev Institute of Chemistry and Technology of Rare Elements and Mineral Raw Materials (Kola Science Center RAS), Apatity, Russia:
P. B. Gromov, Deputy Director for Science, e-mail:
M. A. Muzhdabaeva, Researcher
E. K. Kopkova, Senior Researcher
N. V. Serba, Leading Technologist


Our paper shows the possibility of rare metals extraction during low-temperature decomposition of bismutotantalite concentrate (tstart = 20 oC) by the solutions HF and HF + H2SO4. Concentration of fluorohydric and sulfuric acids and volume of acid reagent are the main technological parameters, defining the completeness of tantalum and niobium extraction from bismutotantalite concentrate. The process time makes a lesser influence on the process itself. A different solubility of formed fluoride compounds allows the separation of fluorcomplex compounds of tantalum and niobium from non-soluble fluoride compounds of bismuth on decomposition stage. We defined the conditions of efficient decomposition of bismutotantalite concentrate, providing 97–99% of niobium and tantalum extraction in solution and 160–190 g/l of their concentration in solution. Having an interaction of bismutotantalite concentrate, both with fluorohydric acid and with mixed acid reagent, bismuth and natural radionuclides U (IV) and ThO2 (>98%) are released as low-soluble fluoric compounds and are concentrated in insoluble bismuthbearing fluoride cake. We found the conditions, where a high total content of niobium and tantalum is reached in industrial solutions (≤190 g/l), which enables the considerable decrease of concentration of fluorohydric acid (≤173 g/l) for further efficient extraction processing of solutions. After correction, the prepared solution may be sent to decomposition of niobium and tantalum according to the flowsheet of bulk extraction of niobium (V) and tantalum (V) by n-oktanol with their decomposition on re-extraction stage. In total, low-temperature decomposition of bismutotantalite concentrate allows the decrease of the process's energy intensity at high indicators of tantalum and niobium extraction in liquid phase, and decrease the losses of volatile components (HF, SiF4), which significantly improves the ecological characteristics of this technology.

keywords Bismutotantalite concentrate, low-temperature decomposition, acidic vehicle, fluorohydric acid, sulfuric acid, extraction, decomposition, tantalum, niobium, bismuth

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