Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Sorption and coprecipitation of trace concentrations of thorium with various minerals under conditions simulating an acid uranium mill effluent environment

February 1, 1995

Sorption of thorium by pre-existing crystals of anglesite (PbSO4), apatite (Ca5(PO4)3(HO)), barite (BaSO4), bentonite (Na0.7Al3.3Mg0.7Si8O20(OH)4), celestite (SrSO4), fluorite (CaF2), galena (PbS), gypsum (CaSO4·2H2O), hematite (Fe2O3), jarosite (KFe3(SO4)2(OH)6), kaolinite (Al2O3·2SiO2·2H2O), quartz (SiO2) and sodium feldspar (NaAlSi3O8) was studied under conditions that simulate an acidic uranium mill effluent environment. Up to 100% removal of trace quantitiees of thorim (approx. 1.00 ppm in 0.01 N H2SO4) from solution occurred within 3 h with fluorite and within 48 h in the case of bentonite. Quartz, jarosite, hematite, sodium feldspar, gypsum and galena removed less than 15% of the thorium from solution. In the coprecipitation studies, barite, anglesite, gypsum and celestite were formed in the presence of thorium (approx. 1.00 ppm). Approximately all of the thorium present in solution coprecipitated with barite and celestite; 95% coprecipitated with anglesite and less than 5% with gypsum under similar conditions. When jarosite was precipitated in the presence of thorium, a significant amount of thorium (78%) was incorporated in the precipitate.