“Honestly, we haven't seen a metallurgical breakthrough like this in a long, long time. I'm tempted to make a comparison to the breakthrough days of the Manhattan Project.”
- Byron King
IntelliMet's Spiderweb™ solid phase extraction units are an unprecedented technological breakthrough in metal separation and production. The Spiderweb™ has greatly enhanced properties for metal recovery compared with conventional resin or carbon columns. The technology is based on Solid Phase Extraction with the help of a cross-linked polymer network that is similar to a spider web. As we pass metal solutions through the filter cartridge, these “nano Spiderwebs” capture the metals.
The Spiderweb™ contains a tightly packed bed of beads, like a resin column, but instead of putting the binding groups inside the beads, we place the binding groups on polymer strung between the beads. The polymer catches metals passing through the bed like a spider web catches flies flying through it. Because the Spiderweb™ has immediate contact with the metal solution, binding and recovery are nearly instantaneous. Because of the rapid exchange properties of the Spiderweb™ - Solid Phase Extraction metal recovery systems (employing the Spiderweb resin) have higher throughput, therefore they require much smaller operating units/capital equipment, and result in higher metal recoveries, better metal separation, and better handling of trace contaminants.
The Spiderweb™ technology fundamentally improves the process efficiency and economics of metal extraction. The solid phase extraction (SPE) columns that IntelliMet has developed have superior metal adsorption characteristics that enable efficient recovery of metal ions from solutions:
Rapid metal adsorption and equilibration kinetics that bind metal ions with residence in a few seconds.
High binding constants selected desired metals and low binding constants for other interfering metals.
Strong metal binding even in the presence of competing ions.
Capturing targeted metal with one pass through a single small column (i.e, >>90% recovery). Rapid metal adsorption kinetics eliminates the need for lead/lag columns in a series. Physically, a 52 gpm column that processes a one stage leach solution from 3 tons per hour of concentrate has a volume of 13 gallons and is 24 inches in diameter and approximately 6 inches deep.
Separation of desired metals by sequential removal from the support in a concentrated form, using a process we call “selective elution.” This provides purified metal concentrates, which can proceed directly to precipitation and commercial sale, without further metallurgical manipulation.