Recovery of Rare Earth Element from Acid Mine Drainage Using Organo-Phosphorus Extractants and Ionic Liquids

Abstract

Acid mine drainage is a legacy environmental issue and one of the largest pollutants in many mining districts throughout the world. In prior work, the authors have developed a process for the recovery of critical materials, including the rare earth elements, from acid mine drainage using a preconcentration step followed by solvent extraction as a concentration and purification technology. As part of the downstream technology development efforts, we have synthesized a suite of ionic liquid extractants that facilitate greater separation factors leading to lower capital costs and reduced environmental impacts. This article provides a comparison of the conventional extractants D2EHPA, EHEHPA and C572 with their respective ionic liquids [c101][D2EHP,c101][EHEHP] and [c101][C572] for the recovery of rare earth elements from acid mine drainage. In the study, laboratory-scale, multi-contact solvent extraction tests were conducted at high and low extractant/dosages. The results show that the ionic liquids varied in performance, with [c101][D2EHP] and [c101][EHEHP] performing poorer than their conventional counterparts and [c101][c572] performing better. Recommendations for further study on [c101][c572] include stripping tests, continuous pilot testing, and techno-economic analysis.

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Citation
Larochelle, T.; Noble, A.; Strickland, K.; Ahn, A.; Ziemkiewicz, P.; Constant, J.; Hoffman, D.; Glascock, C. Recovery of Rare Earth Element from Acid Mine Drainage Using Organo-Phosphorus Extractants and Ionic Liquids. Minerals 2022, 12, 1337.