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  'Working together to promote premier, multi-disciplinary research and development in the area of minerals beneficiation'

Nicole Uys

 

 

MSc (commenced 2016)

Project Title: Modelling of in-situ leaching of rare earth elements

Supervisors: Prof Jochen Petersen; Prof Dee Bradshaw

Contact: Nicole.Uys@alumni.uct.ac.za

 

 

 

 

As the grades of ore containing precious metals decline, leaching presents a potentially viable alternative to traditional pyro-metallurgical processes. However, as the leaching process is time-consuming and laboratory experiments are often not scalable, achieving this is dependent on the ability to ‘reasonably’ accurately model the various systems, in order to make design and operational recommendations. Given that the extraction of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) using in-situ leaching has not been extensively modelled, this project aims to determine the applicability of existing heap leaching models to in-situ leaching. The justification for applying heap leaching models to in-situ leaching is that similar phenomena occur within both processes. A successful outcome would form the basis for investigating the economic and environmental aspects of the REE life cycle.