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Success in Recovery of Cobalt and Gold from Urban Ore

National Institute for Materials Science

A team leads by Dr. Kohmei Halada, Managing Director of the Center for Strategic Natural Resources of the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS; President: Sukekatsu Ushioda), demonstrated that cobalt, which is one of the rare metals, was completely recovered from “urban ore” sample with low capital cost. In addition, gold could also be recovered from this sample.

Abstract

  1. A team led by Dr. Kohmei Halada, Managing Director of the Center for Strategic Natural Resources of the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS; President: Sukekatsu Ushioda), demonstrated that cobalt, which is one of the rare metals, can be recovered from “urban ore,” and further, that gold can also be recovered from the remaining liquid.
  2. The functional use of mesoporous monoliths, which we called “modified HOM” (HOM: high-ordered mesoporous monoliths) is the key component of the cobalt recovering from urban ore.
  3. NIMS Researcher Dr. Sherif El-Safty developed HOM mesoporous carriers for designing optical sensors. Owing to the significant molecular recognition and the selective functionality, the modified HOM materials based sensors showed the capacity to detect and remove very small amount of substances. Under this real concept, Dr. Halada and Dr. Sherif firstly thought that the HOM sensor monoliths might show great possibility to detect and recover cobalt in urban ore by precisely modify the HOM nanoscale pore accuracy. Dr. Sherif and co-workers show real-space of evidence of cobalt recovery from urban ore using sequential construction of stripper onto nanoscale HOM carriers.
  4. Due to the remaining urban ore sample contains trace amount of other precious metals and substances, it was thought that gold might also be extracted from the residue. The NIMS’ team demonstrated that gold was recovered by a simple method based on dissolution/precipitation reaction, yet no special development of any unique materials was required.
  5. Key to our development design is that our modified HOM monoliths enabled to create recovery system responses of rare-earth metals from urban ore with controlled assessment processes, which involve evaluation of intrinsic properties and their manufacturability (e.g., operating cost, reversibility, and high capital tolerances).
  6. This research was carried out as a part of commissioned research from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Recycling Promotion Division Project, “Development of High Efficiency Extraction and Separation Technologies for Rare Metals.”
  7. Details of extraction by this modified HOM approach are scheduled to be presented at the Open Workshop of the 1st Symposium on Innovative Rare Metal Extraction Technologies by Organic-Nano-Metallurgy Convergence”. The workshop will be held on March, 2010, jointly with the Japan Chemical Innovation Institute (JCII) and under the sponsorship of the NIMS Center for Strategic Natural Resources.


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