Ion exchange resin performance is affected by high levels of dissolved and suspended solids in feed solutions. Resin manufacturers produce a large selection of resin types, tailored to meet the variable and demanding needs of industry. Changing from an alkaline to a low pH ISR process alters the resin requirements for the process plant at Lance. The actual performance of the ion exchange uranium recovery system during the 2019 FLT indicated the need to focus additional research attention on this important processing step.
In 2019 and 2020, a multitude of laboratory scale resin loading and elution (resin stripping) tests have been conducted on a wide selection of commercially available resins, using synthetic, lab generated and field-generated uranium-rich low-pH solutions. The laboratory test work led to the selection of a preferred resin type for use in future commercial production operations.
The selected resin has the potential to positively impact the operating costs at Lance by achieving higher resin loading factors under the actual operating conditions. The Company intends to confirm the resin performance criteria as a component of the MU1A low pH field demonstration.