Uranium from Phosphates Revival.

The PhosEnergy Process has overcome the obstacles that hampered existing technologies to realize a favourable market.

The most recent commercial facility for the removal of uranium from phosphoric acid in the US ceased operation in 1999. No commercial plants are currently in operation in the Western world.

Recovery of the uranium price and strong phosphate market fundamentals contribute to a favorable market for uranium recovery from phosphoric acid. 

The high capital and operating costs of the existing technology with respect to the uranium market contribute to the continued absence of commercial uranium recovery facilities in phosphoric acid plants.  The key factors that contribute to these cost challenges for the existing technology include:

  • Higher focus on safety engineering resulting in higher capital and operating cost for SX processes;
  • More issues around waste generation, handling and disposal;
  • Higher focus on off gas treatment; and
  • Higher impurity apatite which are a greater challenge to manage in the uranium extraction process.

In addition, the existing uranium recovery technologies have the potential to negatively affect the core business of the phosphoric acid producer through the addition of deleterious impurities.

The PhosEnergy Process has the potential to diminish these cost challenges, by substantially reducing the capital and operating costs, improving the operability of the extraction process and reducing the production of radioactive process wastes. This improvement in uranium extraction technology, combined with development of process technologies in general contribute to the cost drive advantage for the current market compared to the uranium from phosphates campaigns during the 1980s and 1990s.

In 2010, recovery of the uranium price and strong phosphate market fundamentals contribute to a favorable market for uranium recovery from phosphoric acid.  The demand for phosphate is returning following a 2008 supply surplus, with the inventory supply chain de-stocking and production rates at most plants increasing again. Long term predictions are for steady and consistent growth due to the need for fuel, food and feed.  Evaluation of the uranium market over the next five year predicts strengthening uranium prices due to supply shortfall; primary production for 2013 is estimated to be 140 Mlb U3O8 while demand is predicted to reach 180 Mlb U3O86.

The PhosEnergy Process is capable of immediately realizing a favorable market for the uranium from phosphates industry through the utilization of breakthrough uranium extraction technology.

6 World nuclear association data