Salt Lake City, UT: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, B 682, YYYY MMM; :1-47
Searles Lake, California, contains the largest known domestic tungsten resource. The brines in this near-dry lake bed, located in the Mojave Desert 130 mi northeast of Los Angeles, contain an estimated 135 mmlb of tungsten. However, the low concentration of tungsten (0.080 G/l wo3) in the supersaturated brine makes selective tungsten extraction very difficult. Although many brine chemicals are extracted from the lake, tungsten recovery was an elusive goal prior to Bureau of Mines development of an ion-exchange technique. This publication describes the Bureau process, the Searles Lake Resource, general problems associated with tungsten recovery, Bureau research objectives, the synthesis of ion-exchange resins, the development of a two-stage ion-exchange tungsten extraction and concentration procedure, product recovery and purification, and provides an economic evaluation. Flowsheets for recovering three products (calcium tungstate, sodium tungstate, and tungstic oxide) are presented and evaluated, as well as a summary of the research effort and potential applications.