Progress in hydrometallurgical technologies to recover critical raw materials and precious metals from low-concentrated streams.

Critical and precious metals are essential in many modern applications. While their natural sources are depleting, one must adapt to guarantee a reliable supply by developing new and optimizing existing techniques to recover the elements from unexplored material flows. The aquatic phase is of great meaning to this issue, as migration from solid to liquid streams is ubiquitous during industrial manipulation of the raw materials.

The resulting (waste) waters are characterized by low concentrations and varying chemical composition. Hence, hydrometallurgical technologies should cope with such specific system conditions and physico-chemical properties of critical and precious metals when elaborating a recovery strategy. The research group of Prof. Gijs Du Laing, with colleagues from Ghent University, have just published a review article in the top-ranked journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling, providing an overview of the present status and outlook on technologies used to recover critical metals from solution, including cementation, precipitation, reduction, ion exchange, solvent extraction, electrochemical methods and adsorption onto novel, sustainable materials. Special attention is given to adsorption technology, which is considered as one of the most promising metal recovery options owing to its facile implementation, low cost, high availability and high removal efficiencies even at low target metal concentrations. Key directions are suggested to tackle existing challenges in the field of resource recovery and improve the sustainability of future material cycling.

Do not hesitate to read the full article:

Jeffrey Paulo H. Perez, Karel Folens, Karen Leus, Frank Vanhaecke, Pascal Van Der Voort, Gijs Du Laing (2019). Progress in hydrometallurgical technologies to recover critical raw materials and precious metals from low-concentrated streams. Resources, Conservation & Recycling, 142, 177–188.