Solvent Extraction in Hydrometallurgy: Principles, Flowsheet Design, and Selected Applications

Sunday, August 26
Westin Ottawa
MetSoc and TMS
Lead Organizer / Instructor
Kathryn C. Sole, Consulting Hydrometalllurgist

Extraction 2018 is over and registration is no longer available for these courses.

Course Overview

Solvent extraction is a pivotal unit operation in many hydrometallurgical circuits, essential to facilitating flowsheet optimization and ensuring final product purity. Although it has been widely used in the copper and uranium industries for many decades, its use in other applications—especially those of high-tech metals, such as cobalt, nickel, scandium, and lithium—is less well known. This course provides an introduction to the use of solvent extraction in hydrometallurgical applications, and is particularly targeted at entry-level metallurgists or those who want to improve their knowledge of this technology. The basic chemical principles are outlined, including the various types of extractants and diluents employed for different applications. Consideration is given to how to conduct essential laboratory- and pilot-scale test work to generate the requisite data for flowsheet and equipment design. Operating issues and some common plant problems are then discussed. The course concludes with case studies of selected applications.

With course notes and an extensive reference list provided, as well as a focus on practical flowsheet development and troubleshooting operating issues, delegates should be well-placed to define and implement knowledge and improvements at their workplace. The goal of this course is to expose attendees to both principles and operating practices of a range of global SX applications that will allow appreciation of synergies, advantages, and limitations of this technology and its role in flowsheet development.

Course Outline


  • Extractants and diluents
  • Factors affecting the composition of the organic phase
  • Nomenclature and circuit components
  • Integration of SX with up and downstream unit operations

Flowsheet conceptualization and design

Laboratory test work and piloting considerations
  • McCabe-Thiele diagrams
  • Series and series—parallel configurations
  • Basics of mixer-settler design
  • Other contacting equipment
Operating considerations
  • Phase continuity, mixer efficiency, phase separation
  • Entrainment, control of organic losses
  • Crud, solids’ control, clarification options
  • Best practice

Selected applications

Copper, Uranium, Zinc, Cobalt and nickel, and precious and strategic metals

Course Instructor

Katheryn C. Sole is well known in the field of hydrometallurgical solvent extraction, with commodity experience including copper, cobalt, nickel, zinc, titanium, vanadium, platinum-group metals, gold, and uranium. She has co-authored more than 80 publications and regularly presents accredited professional development courses in this field. She also served as technical programme chair for the International Solvent Extraction Conference (ISEC 2002), held in Cape Town, South Africa. After working for many years for Mintek and Anglo American, she now consults independently and has a client base and project assignments that span six continents. Sole obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. She has been awarded the Silver Medal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and the Bronze Medal of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science.


Course Registration Rates *

Registering As Advanced
Before June 26
On or After June 26
Attendee $665 $740
Student $325 $370

*Please note that registration rates do not include 13% tax.

Sponsorship Acknowledgements

This course is made possible thanks to The Metallurgy and Materials Society (MetSoc) of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) and The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS).