Recovery of niobium and tantalum by solvent extraction from Sn-Ta-Nb mining tailings



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Rodríguez, Olga and Alguacil, Francisco J. and Escudero Baquero, Esther and García Díaz, Irene and Fernández Sánchez, Paloma and Sotillo Buzarra, Belén and López, Félix A. (2020) Recovery of niobium and tantalum by solvent extraction from Sn-Ta-Nb mining tailings. RSC advances, 10 (36). 21406 -21412. ISSN 2046-2069

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The slag from the extraction processes of metals from their ores may contain valuable components that, if adequately recovered, can be reintroduced in the technological life cycle. This is the case for the material obtained in Penouta mines in the North of Spain. These mineral sites are a main source of tin obtained from cassiterite. The mineral is submitted to a pyrometallurgical process to separate tin, however cassiterite is not the only mineral present in the veins, and large amounts of other minerals are normally discarded, constituting the slag. In the present case, besides cassiterite, one of the most abundant minerals in the ore is columbo tantalite, the source of the strategic coltan. In this work the raw material (slag) has been treated by acid leaching, using HF/H_2SO_4 as the leaching agent. Then liquid-liquid extraction of Nb and Ta was performed, with Cyanex ®923 extractant, so that both metals were obtained separately. Then they were precipitated from the corresponding aqeuous solution, and calcined in order to yield Nb_2O_5 of 98.5% purity and tantalum salt, after calcination and purification, of 97.3% purity. The process described in this work opens a possibility to produce high quality materials that are considered critical by the EU from alternative sources exempt of criticality factors.

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©2020 The Authors. Published by Royal Society of Chemistry
The authors are grateful to the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities for support via the projects ESTANNIO (RTC-2017-6629-5) and MINECO/FEDER-MAT2015-65274-R, and to Complutense University of Madrid and Santander via the project UCM-Santander 2019 (PR87/19-22613). B. Sotillo acknowledges financial support from Comunidad de Madrid (Ayudas del Programa de Atraccion de Talento (2017-T2/IND-5465)).

Uncontrolled Keywords:Chemistry; Multidisciplinary
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Materials
Sciences > Physics > Solid state physics
ID Code:62005
Deposited On:11 Sep 2020 16:22
Last Modified:11 Sep 2020 16:22

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