CHEMICAL VAPOUR METAL REFINING (CVMR®) OF PLATINUM GROUP OF METALS (PGM)

Sergey N. Kovtun, Mick F. O'Meara, Nanthakumar Victor, Dmitri S. Terekhov.

ABSTRACT:

The current extraction method of the Platinum Group of Metals (PGM) from an ore concentrate and the subsequent separation of one PGM metal from another is a time-consuming complicated multi-step process. The use of the Chemical Vapour Metal Refining (CVMR®) process for the extraction and separation of PGMs is a simple and economical alternative. The paper covers the CVMR® process, which is based on the formation of volatile metal compounds, followed by extraction and thermal decomposition into the pure metals and reagent gases.

In the case of PGMs, CVMR® does not use CO, and hence, the process is quite different from the carbonyl process previously attempted by a number of organizations and test facilities. CVMR® extracts PGMs via synthesis of trifluorophosphine complexes at low pressures and low temperatures (80 to 100 oC). These two facts alone make the process highly economical, compared to other methods available.

This paper presents a comparison between the process of extraction of PGM's and CVMR® proprietary carbonyl process for the extraction of nickel and cobalt. In the carbonyl process, CVMR® also uses very low pressures and temperatures, compared to varies other processes currently used.