History of production
In present time the main source of production of rhenium and osmium in the Republic of Kazakhstan is copper sulfuric ore from Zhezkazgan deposit.
The presence of high concentrations of rhenium and osmium, which for 99% is presented by isotope osmium-187, and forms a self-dependent finely dispersed mineral – zhezkazganit, is one of the most important features of the deposit.
The general projector of the rare metals shop (production of ammonia perrhenate from flushing sulfuric acid by extraction method) is projecting institute “Gincvetmet” (Moscow).
An intellectual property of Kazakhstani and Russian scientists is invested into technological processes of rare metals extraction, mainly – Gincvetmet, Giprocvetmet, and the Institute of metallurgy and ore-dressing of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Institute of geological sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In collaboration with scientists the workers of the enterprise elaborated dozens of inventions, which are protected by author certificates of the USSR and patents of the Republic of Kazakhstan. A part of the mentioned innovative decisions, as well as organizational events, which are directed to find a way of increasing the extraction of rhenium and osmium, is realized and introduced in the conditions of rare metals shop of the enterprise, exactly they are as follows:
- In 1991 a process of rhenium acid production using ill-conditioned rhenium salts was accomplished, an industrial setting, which was designed by the Institute of metallurgy and ore-dressing of the RK, was installed and is operating till present time at the enterprise;
- In 1993 to specify more precisely the rhenium and osmium conduct during the processing of zhezkazgan copper concentrate and to substantiate the choice of the most prospective for osmium production organization and rhenium extraction increasing, the conduct of these metals’ distribution into products of metallurgical, sulfuric acidic and rare metals production, taking into account the content of metals in gas phase, was investigated. As a result it was determined that the products, which mainly concentrate osmium and rhenium are flushing sulfuric acid, slime, dust, mother waters from solid phase rhenium re-extraction. The last ones were further chosen as primary source to produce osmium187, because they are most rich with the content of this element’s products;
- In 1994 a method of rhenium selective extraction from rhenium containing mother waters in the process of solid phase re-extraction was mastered by Institute of metallurgy and ore-dressing of the RK;
- Starting from 1987 the Institute of metallurgy and ore-dressing of the RK had been conducting investigations to extract osmium from solid and liquid industrial products of rare metals production, as a result, a technology of osmium concentrate receipt from mother waters of solid phase re-extraction followed by processes of osmium affinage was elaborated;
- In 1995 for the first time in world practice by common efforts of rare metals shop workers and the Institute of metallurgy and ore-dressing of the RK, an industrial production of radiogenic metallic powder of osmium-187 was organized. On the base of rare metals shop a site of osmium-187 production was set and launched;
- In the end of 1996 a pilot lot of metallic rhenium powder was produced, basing on the technology of ammonia perrhenate hydrogen reduction, a project of metallic rhenium production site was elaborated;
- In 2000 the Institute of metallurgy and ore-dressing of the RK elaborated a technology of complex processing of lead slime and cake, with the extraction of the main part of rhenium into solution and production of concentrate, containing osmium and silver, and 3-base lead sulfate;
- In 2001 an elaboration of high temperature rhenium re-extraction, which allowed to improve the quality of the products, was introduced to production by the Institute of metallurgy and ore-dressing of the RK;
- In 2009 a technology of ammonia perrhenate production from liquid rough salt sediment, which allowed reducing the loss of rare metals to minimum, and, consequently, increasing the production volume, elaborated by JSC “Center of Earth sciences, metallurgy and ore-dressing”, was introduced to production;
- In 2011 a technology of ammonia perrhenate purification, using a method of sorption, which allowed improving the quality of product, elaborated by JSC “Center of Earth sciences, metallurgy and ore-dressing” was introduced to production;
- In 2013 a technology of rhenium and osmium extraction from mother waters and rough sediment, which allowed increasing rhenium extraction degree, elaborated by JSC “Center of Earth sciences, metallurgy and ore-dressing” was introduced to production;
- In 2013 a technology of osmium extraction from waste product – flushing sulfuric acid, elaborated by JSC “Center of Earth sciences, metallurgy and ore-dressing” was introduced to production;