Solvent extraction

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Leaching (mobilization)Solvent extractionStrippingMetal extraction
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Definition and application

Solvent extraction is a frequent technology in hydrometallurgy. It is a liquid-liquid extraction process used to purify and concentrate solutions obtained from leaching of mineral ores. Solvent extraction acts as purification and concentration technique at the same time.


Essentially solvent extraction consists of two circuits of non-miscible liquids put in contact, where a valuable metal in an aqueous solution is captured by an extractant in the organic phase.

More detailed solvent extraction is a mass transfer operation in which the feed is contacted with an immiscible liquid (solvent) that exhibits preferential affinity or selectivity towards one or more of the components in the feed. Two streams result from this contact: the extract, which is the solvent rich solution containing the desired component, and the raffinate, the residual feed solution containing small amounts of the desired component.

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