How to optimize diluent choice on a Mine site
Solvent extraction is now the preferred route for extracting metals from ores and other sources as it ensures both environmental responsibility and cost efficiency. In order to ensure optimal performance in terms of operator safety, process efficacy and reliability there a few key things to take into account when choosing the best extraction fluid for your liquid-to-liquid extraction processes.
The aim in all operating plants is to create a safer working environment with stable products that have a high flash point as well as a fast disengagement phase. Here are three points to consider when choosing your diluent.
1. Lower the aromatic content of your diluent for operator’s comfort and health
Diluents commonly used in solvent extraction processes have an aromatic content of around 15%. Operators who work daily in mining extractions plants often complain of the heavy smell of diesel type products. By switching to Low Aromatic diluents you enable the operators to work in an odor free environment, which leads to much better working conditions.
2. Ensure that your extraction efficiency is not impacted
In the solvent extraction process it is the combination of extractant and diluent which impacts the extraction efficiency performance. It has been shown in numerous field trials by mining companies that the extraction efficiency is not impacted by using low aromatic diluents. A beneficial aspect that can be noticed when you use low aromatic diluents is that you have less crude formations that are associated with a high aromatic diluents which in turn can trigger the degradation process through oxidation leading to this crude formation. You can quite easily test this in your own lab facility!
3. Choose the correct diluent solution for your mining conditions
Climate can play a large role in your diluent’s performance. When your operations are faced with weather conditions close to 0°C, or close to 50°C, then you need to consider that the parameters that affect the viscosity and flash point of your diluents will be compromised. A lower viscosity will be key in cold temperatures, whereas a resistance to evaporation, known as the products flash point, will be key in hot areas.
Total’s Special Fluids division offers a range of several diluents across a full range of viscosities and flashpoints allowing you to choose the solution best adapted to your operating conditions.
Contact Total experts to find out more.