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The cesium permanganate is a solid-phase oxidizing agent which reacts with virtually any oxidizable compound to form a water-insoluble product. In a preferred process, the oxidizable compounds which are reacted with cesium permanganate are polyvalent metal hydroxides such as aluminum, iron, and potassium ions. The aqueous solution which results from the conversion reaction contains cesium permanganate up to its saturation concentration. It also containing substantial amounts of potassium, iron, and aluminum chloride and other alkali metal hydroxides which must be separated from the cesium permanganate. This separation can be accomplished by cooling the aqueous solution which precipitates the cesium permanganate as a highly water-insoluble solid crystalline mineral. The supernatant solution may be adjusted upwardly in pH to a range at which the resulting iron and aluminum hydroxides will precipitate as hydrated hydroxides, such as by the addition of an alkaline metal hydroxide or carbonate such as sodium or potassium.
The ground pollucite ore which is the source of the cesium in the described process is leached with aqueous sulfuric acid (H2 SO4) in a suitable stainless steel or glass-lined reaction vessel. The reaction is usually conducted at a temperature of from 20 to 50 degC.
The acid leachate is filtered, washed, and dried to obtain the dry cesium alum which is a commercially desirable product. The separated cesium alum is then reacted with a permanganate reducing agent to form a cesium carbonate solution and solid cesium delta manganese dioxide (Csx Mn4 O8-9 wherein x+0.8 to 2) which can be further processed to yield other commercially desirable cesium products.