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Solvent extraction: new aqueous coalescing technology

22nd April 2013


The goal was simple: demonstrate both low cost and effective coalescence of entrained organic to improve performance of dual-media filters; and provide a standalone solution for raffinate.

SpinTek Filtration (www.SpinTek.com), based in Los Alamitos, CA, USA, met this goal through the creation of its new aqueous coalescing technology, the Aqualescer, a pre-treatment of organic in solvent extraction (SX) plants for hydrometallurgy applications.

This system improves coalescence by adding pressurised air in the inlet feed line, increasing efficiencies. A test conducted in South America at the Gaby Copper Mine’s Solvent Extraction (SX) Plant offered the opportunity to use the new Aqualescer in conjunction with the CoMatrix SX system to evaluate the removal of small organic droplets and crud from the raffinate stream during service operations.

The results showed low levels of organic in the total effluent with the vast majority of organic removed by the Aqualescer. With organic inlet concentrations as low as 9ppm the average entrained organic removal was 75 per cent. Efficiency removals rose to 88 per cent when the organic present in the feed was greater than 20ppm.

The success of this test program led to the sale of the first-ever combined Aqualescer and CoMatrix system in Central Asia. This system is under construction at Central Asia Mining, a SX copper mine in the Republic of Kazakhstan.







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