ALKALINE FUSION OF MALAYSIAN MONAZITE AND XENOTIME FOR THE SEPARATION OF THORIUM AND URANIUM
Thorium and uranium content in monazite and xenotime can be retrieved through extraction method. However, these elements need to be separated before extraction could be done. The purpose of this research was to study the effectiveness of thorium and uranium separation technique in monazite and xenotime via alkaline fusion method as well as to determine the suitability of this method towards the two minerals. The alkaline fusion process required the minerals to be fused in sodium hydroxide pellet at 300 - 350°C for about three hours before leaching with 6M hydrochloric acid. Two stages of selective precipitation were conducted using solutions of oxalic acid and ammonia to form oxalate complexes and hydroxide complexes respectively. Both solid complexes were later analysed for its elemental content using Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF). The result obtained shows that thorium was separated in the oxalate complexes, while uranium separated in the hydroxide complexes. However, the conditions used in this technique were found to be more suitable for xenotime.