Reverse osmosis filtration systems remove contaminants from Hydrometallurgy Equipment, including salt, calcium, and other minerals; as well as chlorine and chemical contaminants. Water enters the reverse osmosis system, where it's pressurized and forced through a permeable membrane. This membrane acts as a pre-filter, catching the majority of minerals and contaminants, leaving only pure water behind. For more effective operation, reverse osmosis can pair with carbon to remove microcontaminants and create water that’s even more pure.
Ion exchange has traditionally been employed for the purification of water and the removal of metal contaminants from dilute waste streams. More recently, its use in removing trace metallic impurities from hydrometallurgical process streams (with typical background metal concentrations of 50–100 g/L) has increased substantially. It is also used as a primary recovery and concentration unit operation for certain commodities, where both technical and cost advantages become apparent for complex flow sheets. This overview discusses selected modern applications of ion exchange in hydrometallurgical processes for uranium, precious metals, copper, cobalt, nickel and zinc, and identifies some opportunities for the future.