A Review of Niobium-Tantalum Separation in Hydrometallurgy


Niobium and tantalum are chemically similar and are associated with each other in nature which makes it very difficult to separate. For many years, the separation of tantalum from niobium involved the fractional crystallization of potassium heptafluorotantalate away from potassium oxypentafluoroniobate monohydrate, this method has been supplanted by solvent extraction from fluoride-containing solutions by the use of solvent extractants such as Octanol, bis(2-ethylhexyl)phosphoric acid (DEHPA), Alamine 336, methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), tri-nbutyl phosphate (TBP) or cyclohexanone. A detailed review of the various processes involved in the breakdown treatment of niobium and tantalum primary sources, extraction and separation and newer processes of extraction as well as the various technique involved were discussed.

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O. Ayanda and F. Adekola, "A Review of Niobium-Tantalum Separation in Hydrometallurgy," Journal of Minerals and Materials Characterization and Engineering, Vol. 10 No. 3, 2011, pp. 245-256. doi: 10.4236/jmmce.2011.103016.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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