The Bureau of Mines is examining a variety of low-grade uranium ores because projections indicate that an appreciable percentage of future U.S. uranium production will be derived from resources containing 0.01 to 0.1 percent u3o8. One possible source is represented by a granitic material from Wyoming; the available samples contained 0.06 and 0.12 percent u3o8. Tests were conducted to explore the general leaching characteristics of this potential resource. The material responded to both acidic and alkaline leaching techniques. Conventional acid leaching extracted 93 percent of the uranium in 18 hours; the required acid addition was 50 to 100 pounds of h2so4 per ton of ore, and the oxidant addition was 3 pounds of naclo3 per ton of ore. The acid consumption continues after maximum uranium recovery has been reached; this effect may complicate heap or in situ leaching with acidic solutions. Some variation in reagent requirements was noted between the two ore samples. Conventional carbonate leaching with strong solutions at 85 deg c extracted 94 percent of the uranium in 24 hours. These granitic materials also showed some response to dilute carbonate solutions, and the results suggest that the material may be chemically amenable to heap or in situ leaching with dilute carbonate solutions.
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