Alkaline sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) is a powerful and technically effective leaching system for recovering uranium values from refractory uranium ores from Crown-point, NM. Batch and column-pack laboratory tests show that alkaline bicarbonate solutions containing 0.1 to 5.0 wt% NaOCl afford rapid production of uranium from such refractory ore. Ultimate recoveries of 90% and greater were obtained in column-pack tests. The organic carbonaceous matter found was associated intimately with the uranium mineral in some Crownpoint ore trends and appears to shield some of the uranium from contact with a chemically mild leaching system. NaOCl appears to be a strong enough oxidant to attack the carbonaceous matter and to expose trapped uranium mineral species. NaOCl, however, is such a strong oxidant that it was consumed also by reaction with metal sulfides and other gangue minerals present in the ore. Field applications would require appropriate corrosion control, protection of ion exchange resin from NaOCl, and control of chloride ion buildup.

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