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Separation of rhenium and molybdenum from molybdenite leach liquor by the solvent extraction method

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2013, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 53-58

Khoshnevisan, A.; Yoozbashizadeh, H.; Mohammadi, M.; Abazarpoor, A.


 Molybdenum resources around the world are mainly associated with porphyry copper ores. Molybdenite (MoS2) is the main Mo mineral that has rhenium in its crystal lattice. This paper investigates the recovery of rhenium and molybdenum from a molybdenite concentrate using a hydrometallurgical treatment method. The molybdenite concentrate is leached with nitric acid and subjected to solvent extraction to recover and separate rhenium and molybdenum from the leached liquor. The effects of pH and the chemicals’ concentration on extraction characteristics of Mo and Re are investigated to define the best condition for selective extraction of these metals. The tested leached liquor contained of 8.2 g/L Mo, 1.5 g/L Fe, 0.5 g/L Cu and 60 ppm Re. A good extraction efficiency, up to 94%, was achieved for Re from the leached liquor, where the extraction of other metals, such as Fe and Cu, was negligible. In particular, at very low pH, rhenium is extracted selectively from solution, while the extraction of molybdenum is less than 10%. After removing rhenium, molybdenum was extracted with LIX984N. The selectivity of molybdenum extraction over other metals in solution was significant. Nearly 94% of molybdenum can be extracted from the solution at a pH value of -0.12, without any interference from other metal ions such as copper and iron.