Innovation provider

Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals


Department of Hydrometallurgy; Sowinskiego 5, 44-100 Gliwice, Poland; Phone number: +48 32 238 02 00, Fax number: +48 32 231 69 33; e-mail: Website:


Rhenium is an exceptionally rare element, its world deposits are estimated at the level of maximum 17,000 tons.
The world production of rhenium is about 40 tons per year, mainly in the form of ammonium perrhenate (VII) and pelletised metallic rhenium. Rhenium and its alloys present high mechanical endurance in elevated temperatures. Due to this fact it is used as an alloy addition for superaloys in the production of whirling components of jet engines and turbines as well as rocket engine nozzles. That application is currently dominating in the world, and with the increasing demand for aircrafts the demand for rhenium increases, which affects price of the metal and its alloys. Copper concentrates produced in Poland contain 5 to 20 ppm of rhenium. In the technology of flash-smelting copper concentrates rhenium becomes distilled in the form of oxides and with furnace off-gasses is sent to sulphuric acid plant. In the washing and cooling installation rhenium becomes transferred to the weak sulphuric acid, which contains 3.5-10 % H2SO4, 0.02-0.07 g/dm3 Re, 0.5-1.5 g/dm3 As. The real breakthrough in the investigations of rhenium recovery technology came with the application of slightly alkaline resin A 170, produced by Purolite company. Elution of rhenium from that ionite can be conducted with solutions of ammonia water to obtain - directly from ion-exchange column - solutions of ammonium perrhenate of rhenium concentration even 1000 times higher than in the washing acid. In the next stage of investigations a method for separation of crystalline ammonium perrhenate of high purity from the obtained ammonia eluates was developed. The new technology is based on the sorption of rhenium from a filtered washing acid on slightly alkaline anion-exchange resin. Rhenium elution is conducted with 6% ammonia water to obtain ammonium perrhenate (VII) solution in the ammonia environment. After concentrating the solution, initially neutralised with sulphuric and/or nitric acid, crude NH4ReO4 is obtained.


The presented technology is an original solution, which allows to obtain ammonium perrhenate (VII) from solutions of a very low rhenium concentration, which are not used anywhere in the world. Therefore, the technology increases the effciency of natural resources utilisation.

Innovative aspects (ecologic, social and economic)

Application examples




Current stage of development

Already on the market

Intellectual Property Rights

Secret know-how

Country of origin


Country of application



National Contact Point

dr Włodzimierz A. Sokół
National Contact Point for Eco-efficient Technologies and Management Systems
Central Mining Institute (GIG)

Plac Gwarkow 1
40-166 Katowice

Tel: +48 32 259 22 11
Fax: +48 259 22 11