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CODELCO and Avecia Sign Technology Development Agreement

(page 2)

acorgaacorganotesnotes

ISSUE

7

OCTOBER

2002

Phelps Dodge Morenci:

Update on Mine for Leach Conversion

(pages 3-5)

Cold Equatorial The Erdmin Organizational Temperature Mineral Park Company News And and SX pages 8-9
Cold
Equatorial
The Erdmin
Organizational
Temperature
Mineral Park
Company
News And
and SX
pages 8-9
SX/EW Plant
MEP Staff
Reagents
in Mongolia
2002 CEO
pages 6-7
pages 10-11
SHE Awards
page 12

Activox®

Upcoming

Treatment

Industry Events

of Copper

page 16

Concentrates

pages 13-15

Metal Extraction Products

Treatment Industry Events of Copper page 16 Concentrates pages 13-15 Metal Extraction Products

CODELCO and Avecia Sign Technology Development Agreement

Osvaldo Castro, South American Regional Manager, Avecia Limitada, Santiago, Chile

Codelco (Corporacion National del Cobre), the world’s largest copper producer, and Avecia have announced the signing of an agreement to cooperate on the development of technology for new metals recovery processes.

Avecia was chosen for this collaboration because of their leading position in the development of copper hydrometallurgy… From Avecia’s perspective, Codelco is the ideal development partner in Chile due to Codelco’s technical and professional capabilities

Avecia was chosen for this collaboration because of their leading position in the development of copper hydrometallurgy over the past 30 years and their applications skill base in solvent extraction technology. Avecia’s technological developments have been supported by Avecia’s core expertise in organic chemistry; biological science; process technology; and analytical techniques. Along Codelco’s history, Avecia has always been a collaborator in their solvent extraction ventures. This agreement formalizes this

relationship for the future.

From Avecia’s perspective, Codelco is the ideal development partner in Chile due to Codelco’s technical and professional capabilities, as well as Codelco’s commitment to technological innovations.

Under this agreement

Codelco will identify specific process requirements that emerge from their development of new ore bodies and their innovations in new metals recovery processes. Avecia will use their existing applications knowledge and will develop new technologies to provide solutions to the new challenges that emerge, particularly in the area of hydrometallurgical technology. The focus on development of new ore bodies and metal recovery technologies is strongly linked to Codelco’s announced growth plans.

According to Codelco and Avecia, this collabora- tion is intended to be forward looking in the development of technical solutions rather than dealing with short term or tactical issues at existing Codelco operations. The close technological collaboration between Codelco and Avecia will identify timely and cost effective solutions to the new technological challenges that are emerging from Codelco’s innovation programs for the development of new ore bodies and new hydrometallurgical processes.

Phelps Dodge Morenci:

Update on Mine for Leach Conversion

Jackson Jenkins, Manager Hydrometallurgical Operations, Phelps Dodge Morenci, Inc. Mark O’Brien, Superintendent Stargo Operations, Phelps Dodge Morenci, Inc.

The PD Morenci operation has undergone many changes over its 100+ year history. These adaptations aimed at improving operation performance are continuing today. In just the past year SX plant configurations and PLS flow distributions have been changed because of changing PLS grade conditions. Modified aldoxime reagents are now in use at 2 of the 4 SX plants to improve both Cu transfer and Cu:Fe selectivity. One of the most significant changes to be implemented has been the conversion of the Morenci operation to a complete Mine-For-Leach (MFL) property. The MFL project was announced in 1999 and full conversion completed during the first quarter of 2001. The following article reviews the MFL project and gives an update on the performance of the changes

Background

The Morenci Mine is located in Southeastern Arizona approximately 220 miles east of Phoenix, Arizona. It is the largest operating Porphyry open pit copper mine in North America; employing approximately 2200 people; moving 700,000 tons of ore per day, and producing 820 million pounds of cathode copper per year. The Morenci property is 85% owned by Phelps Dodge with Sumitomo Metal Mining Arizona, Inc. holding a 15% interest.

The Morenci Concentrator was commissioned in 1942 and operated solely until the Metcalf concentrator was constructed in 1974. Prior to their closures they produced about 500 million-pounds of copper contained in concentrates per year.

Morenci commissioned its first solution extraction and electrowinning

its first solution extraction and electrowinning (SX/EW) facilities in September of 1987. This consisted of

(SX/EW) facilities in September of

1987. This consisted of the Central SX

train located slightly south of the

mine, the two Metcalf SX trains located

in the north end of the mine, and the

A & B cell lines of the Central

Tankhouse. The Central Tankhouse consisted of 188 cells, which have 63 cathodes per cell and utilized the copper starter sheet technology.

In March of 1988 the third SX facility known as Southwest was commissioned. The Southwest plant consisted of a small Krebbs (concrete) series-parallel train.

The first expansion at Central

occurred in 1989 with the installation

of a parallel mixer settler and the

installation of 2 new cell lines, C and D, with ninety-four cells per line.

Central’s second expansion was completed in July of 1991. This

tankhouse expansion involved the installation of forty-four cells on the

C & D cell lines and the entire E cell

line (an additional eighty-four cells). In October of the same year, the construction of two series SX trains, known as Modoc, was completed.

The Southside Tankhouse and associated tank farm equipment construction was completed in August of 1995. This tankhouse consisted of 220 cells of 65 cathodes each and

tankhouse consisted of 220 cells of 65 cathodes each and utilizes the stainless steel mother blank

utilizes the stainless steel mother blank technology with a wax bottom.

Loaded organic wash stages were installed at the Metcalf and Modoc SX facilities in 1997. This facilitated better control of entrained impurities (primarily iron and manganese).

A series SX train with a wash stage was commissioned in July of 1998, which replaced the earlier Southwest facility. Central Tankhouse’s starter sheet technology was converted to a stainless steel mother blank technology with a bottom edge strip and was commissioned in the same year.

All of these SX/EW facilities were awarded ISO 9002 certification in October of 1997. By the end of 1997, the two tankhouses were producing over 575 million pounds of electrowon copper per year.

Phelps Dodge announced the imminent closure of the Metcalf Concentrator in June of 1999 and plans to convert all copper production to Solution Extraction/Electrowinning were announced in September of the same year. The Morenci Concentrator was placed on standby in March of 2001.

The crush for leach (also known as Mine-for-Leach or MFL) construction began in early 1999.

3

Summary of Recent SX/EW Operational Changes at PD Morenci September 1987 Construction of Central series
Summary of Recent SX/EW Operational Changes at PD Morenci
September 1987
Construction of Central series SX facility
Construction of Central EW A and B cell lines (188 cells)
Construction of Metcalf series-parallel SX facility (2 trains)
March 1988
Construction of Southwest series SX facility
December 1989
Expansion of Central SX to series-parallel
Central EW expansion — construction of 1/2 of C and D cell lines (188 cells)
October 1991
Completion of Central EW expansion ( 2nd 1/2 of C and D cell lines, 188 cells)
Construction of Modoc SX facility (2 trains)
August 1995
Construction of Southside EW and tank farm facilities (220 cells)
July 1997
Installation of Metcalf and Modoc loaded organic wash stages
July 1998
Construction of Southwest series SX facility (1 train)
Conversion of Central EW to stainless steel cathode blanks
September 1999
Announcement of conversion of all Cu production to SX/EW
March 2001
Completion of conversion of all production to SX/EW
January 2001
Construction of Stargo EW (324 cells)
Expansion of Southwest SX to series-parallel (now called Stargo SX)
Fall/Winter 2001
Adjustment to PLS flow distribution and modification of plant configurations
to adjust for changing PLS grades
December 2001
Conversion to modified aldoxime at Central and Metcalf SX facilities

Mine-for-Leach Development

With the decline in copper prices in 1998, the search for lower cost copper intensified. A proposal was developed to convert all concentrator copper production at Morenci to Mine-for-Leach production. The ensuing pre-feasibility and feasibility study economics proved favorable. It was going to be quite a transition for Morenci, which had been concentrator production driven since 1942. The Metcalf Concentrator shut down in September of 1999 and the Morenci Concentrator was placed on standby in March of 2001 and this transition proved to be fairly seamless. The impact to our employees was

minimized significantly by absorbing nearly all of the displaced employees in other areas of the operation.

Prior to the conversion to totally Mine-for-Leach, the mine placed run of mine ore (ROM), typically with a P80 of 10 inches, on stockpiles to be leached. The mine also delivered run of mine ore to two in-pit crushers that crushed the ore down to a P80 of 6 inch rock and conveyed it to the concentrators for further crushing and concentrating.

Mining operations remain nearly the same in that they continue to place ROM ore on leach stockpiles. The ore that normally was delivered to the

concentrators is now crushed down to 1/2-inch and placed on the new Stargo leach stockpile. This is accomplished by using two mobile stacking conveyors.

Mine-for-Leach Project

The Mine-for-Leach project consisted of converting the concentrator feed material, which is much higher grade than the typical leaching material, to a high recovery leachable product. This required modifications to the existing material handling system, an upgrade to the existing solution extraction plant, and the addition of a new electrowinning tankhouse. The project added an additional 240+ million pounds of copper production per year at a capital cost of approximately $220 million.

The 8,000-foot overland conveyor and crushing systems were upgraded and two new 2,500-foot mobile stacking conveyors were installed to sustain 75,000 tons per day of deposition on the Stargo stockpile. Two 2,600 tons per hour agglomeration drums were installed to control deposition of the fine ore particles. Currently, approximately seven million square feet are under leach on the MFL stockpile at any one time. Each lift is approximately 22 feet and air injection is being added on subsequent lifts. On February 10, 2001, leaching began on the new leach stockpile that was created by the mobile stacking system.

stockpile that was created by the mobile stacking system. Agglomerator Drums- this picture depicts the agglomerator

Agglomerator Drums- this picture depicts the agglomerator drums with the fine ore stockpile in the background (crushed 1/2 inch product).

ore stockpile in the background (crushed 1/2 inch product). Stacking conveyors- this picture depicts the North

Stacking conveyors- this picture depicts the North mobile stacking conveyor with the two conveyor extensions (grasshoppers). Also shown in the foreground are the collection drain lines that transport solution to the main drain system in the center of the stockpile system.

The solution extraction train was upgraded by adding an additional mixer/settler that allowed the train flows to be doubled to 17,000 gallons per minute of PLS (pregnant

leach solution). The addition of this parallel mixer/settler converted the train to a series-parallel with one strip stage

and one loaded organic wash stage (1x2x1x1).

extraction upgrade, named Stargo SX, was commissioned in October 2000. This configuration is the same at all the SX plants with the exception of Central, which does not have a loaded organic wash stage.

A new 324-cell electrowinning tankhouse was constructed with total rectifier capacity of 135,000 amps. The new Stargo tankhouse utilizes the Mt. Isa process of stainless steel cathode blanks. The ‘J’ cell line (108 cells) has a unique double anode double cathode buss system that is being evaluated. The first cathode was harvested on January 13, 2001.

The solution

cathode was harvested on January 13, 2001. The solution SX Train – this picture depicts the

SX Train – this picture depicts the Stargo SX train. The shiny stainless steel mixer/settler is the strip stage followed by the parallel, followed by the series E2, E1 and wash stages.

the parallel, followed by the series E2, E1 and wash stages. Tankhouse – this picture depicts

Tankhouse – this picture depicts the tankhouse and receiving conveyor for the stripping machine. This machine can process over 400 cathodes per hour.

This machine can process over 400 cathodes per hour. Loading Dock – this picture depicts the

Loading Dock – this picture depicts the Stargo loading area where cathode bundles are typically loaded into railcars for shipment to our customers. Cathode bundles can also be shipped by over the road trucks.

Successful Start-up

Safety has continued to be the focus throughout the project starting with the Hazardous Operations Review dur- ing the design phase and continuing through development of Safe Operating Procedures (SOP) for tasks performed. This is a great tribute to the many groups that worked together to make the transition to Mine-for-Leach a success.

Stacking production has continued to increase to the current deposition rate of 85,000 tons per day. Successful transition from 1 1/2-inch crush material to a 1/2-inch crush has been a key to increased recovery. Installation of air injection is starting to show dividends as well.

The Stargo SX plant is running well at 17,500 gallons per minute with extractions over 90%. Current head grades of approximately 4.5 grams per liter copper require over 26 volume percent reagent. Cathode quality at the new tankhouse continues to be extremely high with the analytical grade of the cathode over 99.6% ASTM grade 1.

The Stargo tankhouse produced over 100 million pounds of electrowon cathode without any injuries by August of 2001. Production for 2001 totaled over 207 million pounds of cathode and is on track to produce over 280 million pounds of cathode in 2002.

Summary

Phelps Dodge Morenci Incorporated is the world’s largest SX-EW facility. The transition to MFL has been very successful and has positioned Morenci to be more cost competitive. Morenci continues to safely produce high quality electrowon copper. Morenci Hydromet, with its four solution extraction plants and three tankhouses are doing extremely well. Total PLS flows are averaging approximately 92,000 gallons per minute with an average head grade of 2.5 grams per liter copper. Morenci is on track to meet its production target of 820 million pounds of cathode copper in 2002 with an analytical cathode quality over 96% ASTM grade 1.

Cold Temperature and SX Reagents

Barb Brunssen, Technical Specialist, MEP, Phoenix Keith Cramer, Technical Specialist, MEP, Phoenix

Cold solution temperatures can affect the kinetic performance of solvent extraction (SX) reagents. What does
Cold solution temperatures can
affect the kinetic performance of
solvent extraction (SX) reagents.
What does this mean for your plant?
To meet production demands, it is
important to select the right SX reagent
to ensure that the SX plant Cu recovery
remains high when cold solutions
are processed. In SX plants across
the world, Acorga™ reagents have
demonstrated their ability to
outperform all other reagents in cold
solution conditions. This article
discusses results of laboratory tests
that demonstrate the basis for what
you have seen in the SX plants.
PLS:
LE:
Organic:
Procedure
Laboratory test work was complet-
ed to measure the effect of low
temperature solutions under controlled
conditions. Comparative test work was
done at room temperature (25° C, 77°
F) and 5° C (41° F) to evaluate a range
of conditions present at SX plants.
The test work included kinetic
tests under both extraction and strip
conditions, as discussed in “Acorga
Standard Methods of Test”. The values
measured under these controlled test
Table 1: Kinetics Test Results
25°C
5°C
Extract Kinetics: % Approach to Equilibrium
Acorga M-5640
97
93
Acorga M-5774
95
94
1/1 Ketoxime/Aldoxime
95
83
Strip Kinetics: % Approach to Equilibrium
Acorga M-5640
98
92
Acorga M-5774
97
94
1/1 Ketoxime/Aldoxime
94
85

conditions will not correspond directly to data measured on an SX plant, however the trends in the data are accurate for comparison. More importantly, these trends have been seen at commercial SX operations. The solutions used in the tests included:

2.9 gpl Cu, 5 gpl Fe at pH 1.8 38 gpl Cu, 185 gpl acid 10 v/o Acorga M-5640; Acorga M-5774; and 1/1 ketoxime/ aldoxime mixture

Acorga M-5640 and Acorga M-5774 formulations are based on Avecia’s unique patented ester modifier. All “esters” are not the same. The performance benefits of Avecia’s unique modifier have made Acorga M-5774, Acorga M-5640, and Acorga M-5850 the reagents of choice in many plants across the globe, including those that operate with solutions having very low temperatures. These reagents offer excellent Cu transfer performance, the highest Cu:Fe selectivity available in the industry, low entrainment, and ability to handle PLS solids in all environments.

% Approach to Equilibrium

Cold Solution Conditions (5C, 41F)

100 95 90 85 80 75 Acorga M-5640 Acorga M-5774 1/1 Ketoxime/Aldoxime Extract Strip %
100
95
90
85
80
75
Acorga M-5640
Acorga M-5774
1/1 Ketoxime/Aldoxime
Extract
Strip
% of Equilibrium Cu Loading

Test results showed little

temperature effect on extract and strip kinetics for Acorga M-5640 and Acorga M-5774 in the test range of 25° C to 5°

C. There was a significant affect on

the test results for the 1/1 ketoxime/

aldoxime blend. The percent approach to equilibrium dropped only 1-4% in extract for the Acorga M-5640 and Acorga M-5774 reagents when the test temperature dropped from 25 to 5° C. Under the same test conditions, the approach to equilibrium for the ketoxime/aldoxime blend dropped 12% in extract kinetics tests when the test temperature dropped from 25 to 5° C.

Discussion

How is this effect seen in an operating SX plant? The Cu recovery for a plant running a ketoxime/ aldoxime blend will drop when the solution temperatures drop. Metallurgists at commercial operations have noted this behavior.

Acorga reagents have demonstrated the ability to retain their fast reaction kinetics under even low solution temperature conditions. Plants using Acorga reagents show a similar Cu recovery performance when processing warm or cold solutions.

Why does recovery drop with a ketoxime/aldoxime blend? SX mixers are designed for standard reaction kinetics conditions. But, reaction kinetic performance is slower than normal for ketoxime/aldoxime blends when cold solutions are processed.

A note must also be made on the effect of cold solution temperatures on phase separation because it can affect how a plant operates. It has been noted in the lab and at commercial operations that the phase disengage- ment time for the ketoxime/aldoxime reagents increases significantly when temperatures are low. This has made the plants either slow flows or turn off auxiliary mixers to allow the emulsion more time to separate and avoid flooding of emulsion at the settler weirs. Both of these reactions to counter slow phase separation hurt plant performance.

Phase separation times for Acorga reagents will also increase when cold solutions are processed, but final separation times are lower than those of ketoxime/aldoxime blends. Their excellent separation characteristics allow full flows to be processed in both

Impact on an SX Plant

Lets look at what the drop in reac- tion kinetics for the ketoxime/aldoxime blend may mean to your plant’s Cu production. For this example, assume the plant is operated as 2E+1S with a total PLS flow of 10,000 gpm at 10 v/o reagent and a 2.9 gpl PLS stream. With warm solutions, SX plant Cu recovery would be above 93%. If the solution temperature is colder (and possibly auxiliary mixers are turned off), the extraction performance will drop. If the stage efficiency dropped from 95% to 85% (just in extraction!), the recovery would drop from above 93% to below 89%. A plant running a ketoxime/aldoxime blend would notice a nearly 5% drop in Cu recovery just because of poor cold weather performance of the reagent. Cu production for this theoretical plant would fall by 9 tons/day when using a ketoxime/aldoxime blend under cold solution conditions.

Nine tons/day of lost production would quickly add up. To compensate for the drop in performance of the ketoxime/aldoxime the plant would

either increase the reagent concentra- tion or organic flow. Because of the slower phase separation of the ketoxime/aldoxime with the cold solutions there may be even more of a chance for problems with flooding of

weirs.

deals with the problem, profits will

be lowered.

Conclusions

Cold solution temperatures had little effect on the kinet-

ics in both extract and strip for the Acorga reagents. The SX plant Cu recovery will be sim- ilar under both tem- perature conditions.

Regardless of how the plant

How is this effect seen in an operating SX plant? The Cu recovery for a plant running a ketoxime/aldoxime blend will drop when the solution temperatures drop.

seasons. Commercial operations that switched from a ketoxime/aldoxime blend to an Acorga reagent have noticed a significant improvement in phase separation performance in the winter and have been able to run at full flows when in the past, under the same solution temperature conditions with a ketoxime/aldoxime blend, they have had to reduce flow rates in the plant.

A significant decrease in reaction kinetics was noted in the test temperature range for the ketoxime/aldoxime blend.

The drop in kinetics noted for the ketoxime/aldoxime blend will decrease the profitability of the SX operation either through lower Cu production or higher reagent costs.

Equatorial Mineral Park – Operating with Low Grade PLS

Joey Matthews, Mine Manager, Equatorial Mineral Park

Introduction

The Mineral Park operation is located in the Cerbat mountain range a few miles north of Kingman, Arizona. Operations have been in place at this location for over 40 years, but no traditional mining has occurred since 1981. Although this does eliminate mining costs from the operation it generates additional issues – specifically very low PLS grade. Mineral Park has implemented several changes over the years to improve operations and deal with the pressures of the tight Cu market. Some of the issues discussed in this article include:

operating with high turbidity PLS solutions (run at up to 60 NTU’s);

expansion to 3-parallel feeds;

reagent upgrade;

driving raffinates below 0.03 gpl; and

electrowinning adjustments.

Background

Duval Corporation started mining activities in 1958. The mill operation and mine continued to operate through

1981. The operations continued under Duval from 1981

through 1986 with an iron launder copper precipitate plant. During this time all mining activities had ceased.

Cyprus Mines bought the operation in 1986 and continued to operate the iron launder copper precipitate plant through 1993. Cyprus relocated a 2 extract + 1 strip fiberglass solvent extraction plant and tankhouse from Sierrita in 1994. The units were reconstructed and operated through 1997. During the construction period of the plant, the PLS was continuously stacked back on the

leach area. This provided a higher than normal PLS copper grade for startup (0.75 gpl Cu). Small areas around the pit were drilled and blasted and then leached in place. Even with the new ore the PLS copper grade dropped back between 0.40 gpl to 0.55 gpl.

Start Up

The SXEW plant was commissioned in 1994. As any startup goes, there were some challenges. One significant problem was that the plant would not operate in aqueous continuous phase due to strange organics in the PLS. Eventually this cleaned up and the plant had the flexibility of operating in either organic or aqueous continuous phase.

In order to maintain production despite the dropping PLS grade, the plant was reconfigured several months after startup. This consisted of repiping E2 so that it also received PLS instead of aqueous advanced from the E1 stage. The PLS flow to the plant was doubled to 2,800 gpm.

it also received PLS instead of aqueous advanced from the E1 stage. The PLS flow to

Prior to the reagent switch, especially during cold months, the copper raffinates were too high. In addition, flows had to be lowered in order to avoid flooding of the weir.

High Turbidity PLS

PLS turbidity has always been an issue since start up.

The leach dumps are spread throughout the property and

incorporated a large surface area.

plant is usually kept below 30 NTU, but is often operated with turbidity as high as 60 NTU. When turbidity is above 100 NTU the PLS is usually pumped back to the leach areas and filtered through one of the dumps before it is brought into the plant. Following almost any rain event it is common to have turbidity readings of 200+ NTU for PLS. As soon as the blend of PLS from the various sumps is in the range of 60 NTU it is delivered to the plant as PLS. Turbidity is read with an Oberco-Hellige Portable Turbidity Meter Model 966.

Plant Expansion and Reagent Upgrade

Equatorial Mining bought the site from Cyprus 1997 and made the decision to expand the SX plant in 1998. Flow was restricted because the E1 and E2 discharge lines were too small, so a second raffinate line was added to both E1 and E2. The additional raffinate lines allowed the flows to be increased immediately from ~ 1,400 gpm on each settler to ~2,300 gpm on each settler. At the same time a 3rd extractor was built. The combination of the 3 settlers allowed for ~ 6,000 to 6,200 gpm of total PLS flow. This was done to compensate for the changing PLS grade, which was continuing to decline.

Before the expansion started, a pilot plant trial was run in February 1998 to compare the performance of different

solvent extraction reagents.

better Cu recovery using Acorga™ M-5774 as compared to the aldoxime/ketoxime reagent used in the commercial plant. The plant solvent extraction reagent was changed during the plant expansion. As demonstrated in the trial, recovery improved without increasing the iron in the electrolyte (improved Cu:Fe selectivity). Prior to the reagent switch, especially during cold months, the copper raffinates were too high. In addition, flows had to be lowered in order to avoid flooding of the weir. These issues have not been encountered since the reagent change to Acorga M-5774 (away from an aldoxime/ketoxime blend) and plant expansion.

Low Grade Low Raffinate Requirements

Small drill and blast projects continued through 1999. During this period the PLS copper grade continued

The turbidity to the

The test results indicated

to drop until it was less than 0.30 gpl. With no new ore exposed since then, the PLS copper grade has continued to drop to 0.15 gpl today.

In an effort to improve PLS grade without the expense of new development, the existing leach dumps are reworked. The top 6 to 10 feet of a dump is dozed off the edge after it has been shut down and dried. The newly exposed ore is ripped and put back under leach. The last two areas where this has been done have been put back under leach with drips instead of sprinklers. It is too early to tell all the results, although the PLS copper grade did increase and evaporation appears to be dropping. The two drip test areas include one previously drilled and blasted area and one of Duval’s leach dumps.

Because PLS copper grade is so low, it is essential to have the plant raffinate copper value as close to nil as pos- sible. It is generally kept to 0.03 gpl copper or less. This has been easily obtainable with the current plant reagent.

Electrowinning Adjustments

In an effort to keep the costs down, a change in the operation of the EW was implemented at the beginning of 2002. The electrical contract consisted of on-peak and off-peak demand charges. By operating with higher amps during the off-peak periods the amps were able to be lowered during on-peak hours, greatly reduce the overall electrical costs. This caused some issues initially with the cathode appearance. The cathodes had excess nodules. This has been overcome with a small increase in cobalt sulfate and guar concentrations. No noticeable effect has been seen on the anodes due to the cycling of current. FC1100 mist suppressant was previously used; however, due to the low current density, acid mist is not an issue.

Summary

Equatorial Mineral Park has made many adjustments over the years to continue to produce copper under increasingly difficult operating conditions. The efforts have paid off through increased Cu production, better SX plant performance, and lower operational costs. These adjustments have allowed Mineral Park to continue operations even under seemingly impossible operational and market conditions.

have allowed Mineral Park to continue operations even under seemingly impossible operational and market conditions. 9

The Erdmin Company SX/EW Plant in Mongolia– Operating in an Extreme Climate

Based on “Application of Acorga M-5640 in the Extreme Winter Conditions of Mongolia” by J. Damdinjav, General Director of Erdmin Company Limited, presented at the 2001 Avecia Beijing Seminar

Brian Townson, Europe and Asia/Pacific Regional Manager, Avecia

Introduction

Erdmin Company Limited (ECL) operates its leach/solvent extraction/electrowinning (L/SX/EW) demonstration plant in Mongolia, high in the Khangai Mountain range, approximately 140 miles Northwest of the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator. Erdenet Mining Company has operated mining and concentrator activities here at one of the world’s largest copper deposits for 20 years. Annual concentrate production at the facility has been 400,000 metric tons per year. This has generated large volumes of waste rock still rich in Cu.

Initially, ECL was formed as a joint venture between Erdenet Mining Company and Armada Gold Corporation to run a L/SX/EW process to recover this Cu. The first step for the company was to build and run a

demonstration plant at the mine. Specifically, the technical feasibility of the process needed to be demonstrated due to the very low temperature at the mine site in the winter (temperatures below -35°C), and high-solids nature of leach solutions from the mine waste rock. Erdmin Company has operated the L/SX/EW demonstration plant successfully for 5 years.

Plant Operation

The solvent extraction circuit is configured as a 2E + 1S circuit and average recoveries are approximately 88% using 8 volume % Acorga™ M-5640. Stage efficiencies are 95% in extraction and 98% in strip. The lean electrolyte is 30 g/l copper and 175 g/l acid. The advance electrolyte is 45 g/l copper. Organic/aqueous ratio in extract is 1:1 and in strip 2:1.

Current production from the demonstration plant is 6.8 metric tons /day copper.

Winter temperatures of –35°C have not created any performance issues with the solvent extraction plant despite PLS solution temperatures near freezing. The low winter temperatures have created significant variation in the leach grade. The design criteria of the plant was based on an expected PLS grade of 1.6 g/l copper. In practice, the PLS grade varies significantly. Summer PLS grades range from 1.7-2.0 g/l copper. In the winter this decreases to 0.5 g/l copper.

The initial dumps contained only about 14,500 metric tons of recoverable copper. In April 2000 900,000 tones of run-of-mine ore were added over the original dump. The ore contains mainly chalcocite, covellite and some

Winter temperatures of –35°C have not created any performance issues with the solvent extraction plant despite PLS solution temperatures near freezing.

chalcopyrite. The copper content of this added ore is 0.7%. The 5-meter layer contains another 7,000 metric tons of copper.

There have been some operational considerations

with crud, as is expected with the high solids and colloidal

silica in the PLS.

the presence of crud limited the organic flow rate. The mixers in E1 and S1 were running aqueous continuous (E2 was running organic continuous) because of: 1) low organic flow, 2) crud in the plant, and 3) high levels of solids in the PLS. The generated crud was fluffy and difficult to remove. To help control the problem the following changes were made:

During initial operation of the plant,

1. Organic recycle was introduced to make it easier to control the organic:aqueous phase ratio at 1:1.

This change allowed them to run organic continuous in all mixer settlers. Under organic continuity the crud began to pack well at the interface allowing an increase in organic flow rates.

2. The speed of the mixers was regulated to reduce the amount of air being pulled into the mixer – helping reduce the amount of crud floating in the organic phase.

3. An additional heat exchanger was installed to allow better temperature control of the rich electrolyte.

Following these changes the crud packed well and the O/A ratio was maintained at 1/1. The electrowinning has run well with an applied cell potential of around 37 volts or 1.95 volts/cell (within the normal range for copper electrowinning). The average current density is about 180 A/m 2 and cathode quality is grade A.

Because the plant and reagent have proven their ability to produce high quality cathode in these severe conditions, Erdmin are now looking at the option of expanding to a series parallel configuration to increase production. ECL has concluded that Acorga M-5640 has performed very well under the extreme Mongolian conditions.

production. ECL has concluded that Acorga M-5640 has performed very well under the extreme Mongolian conditions.

Organizational News

Mauricio Laval
Mauricio
Laval

Mauricio Laval joined the MEP group on August 1st as an analytical chemist. He will be responsible for the analytical lab in our Santiago office. Mauricio has a degree in analytical chemistry from the Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana in Santiago. Before joining Avecia he worked with Reckitt & Kolman (Nugget) and Oxiquim. Besides his professional interests Mauricio likes to play soccer, and has been a welcome addition to the local team.

Mauricio Salamanca
Mauricio
Salamanca

Mauricio Salamanca, Technical Specialist in our Santiago office since September 2001, has recently received his Ph. D. degree in Engineering Sciences with a specialty in chemistry. His thesis was based on the development of new biotechno- logical products. We congratulate Mauricio for reaching this step in his professional career and wish him continued success in his future with Avecia.

MEP Staff recognized with Avecia’s 2002 CEO SHE Awards

Christopher Ferguson, General Manager, MEP, Wilmington

Individual Awards:

General Manager, MEP, Wilmington Individual Awards: Barbara Brunssen (Technical Specialist, Phoenix) for

Barbara Brunssen (Technical Specialist, Phoenix) for attaining “Certified MSHA Instructor Status” and her overall MSHA activities.

MSHA Instructor Status” and her overall MSHA activities. Valerie Calvarese (Administrative Assistant, MEP,

Valerie Calvarese (Administrative Assistant, MEP, Wilmington) as part of a team award for establishment of a “First Responder” team for the Wilmington complex.

Group Awards:

Responder” team for the Wilmington complex. Group Awards: The Phoenix MEP team for their long-term driver

The Phoenix MEP team for their long-term driver safety perfor- mance with only four reportable accidents and no lost time accidents over 20+ years and nearly two million miles driven.

Activox ® Treatment of Copper Concentrates

Western Minerals Technology Pty. Ltd., Osborne Park, Western Australia

The Activox® process has been demonstrated to be an effective, economical way to extract base metals (e.g. Ni, Co, Zn and Cu) and gold from sulfide concentrates produced by flotation or gravity concentration. Activox® is essentially a form of oxidative leaching developed by Western Minerals Technology Pty Ltd (WMT), performed on very finely ground minerals under mild tempera- ture and pressure conditions (usually less than 110ºC and 1,000 kPa).

In the early years of development, Activox® was mainly thought of as a method of recovering gold and nickel from sulfide concentrates. Some copper bearing materials were tested, but the focus was on the other metals. However, the process has now been adapted to treat chalcopyrite concentrates providing economically favorable copper extraction.

The rate of oxidation of sulfide species varies from arsenopyrite (rapid) to chalcopyrite (slow). Chalcopyrite is considered one of the most difficult minerals to leach due to this slow oxidation rate, which is caused by a passivating layer of copper polysulfide reaction products that cover the surface of the chalcopyrite particles. Western Minerals Technology has developed

particles. Western Minerals Technology has developed methods of overcoming this problem within the Activox®

methods of overcoming this problem within the Activox® process.

When extracting a combination of base metals and gold from concen- trates, the gold, along with any silver and Platinum Group Elements (PGE’s), remains in the residue and the base metals enter the solution. The Activox® discharge undergoes a solid-liquid separation stage, producing a slightly acidic pregnant solution of base metals and a solid residue. The precious and the platinum group metals can be recovered by conven- tional cyanidation. The base metals are then extracted from solution by various hydrometallurgical processes and the residue can be processed to extract the precious metals. Nickel, copper and cobalt may be recovered from solution by solvent extraction (SX) and electrowinning (EW). Zinc recovery is possible using standard techniques. Bulk or single metal precipitates can be produced instead of producing a metal if desired.

Using the Activox® process, potentially hazardous species such as arsenopyrite can be treated to produce environmentally stable ferric arsenate residues. The Activox® process has also proven to be relatively insensitive to grade, making it ideal for treating

insensitive to grade, making it ideal for treating low-grade concentrates containing impurities. This also

low-grade concentrates containing impurities. This also makes the process particularly appealing to operations that may be trading off grade versus recovery to make saleable concentrates.

Low capital and operating costs make Activox® an attractive alternative to other processing methods. These savings are partly due to lower oxygen consumption, as conditions favor the formation of elemental sulfur rather than sulfate. Further savings are affected by the fast reaction times (usually 1-2 hours) and reduced construction cost for the reaction vessel. The autoclaves used at Western Minerals Technology’s plant are constructed from duplex stainless steel and do not require large, high- pressure flash vessels or cooling systems to handle the discharge.

Western Mineral Technology has tested a range of concentrates containing varying amounts of copper, each being of a different grade or mineralogy. All of them contained chalcopyrite, being the most common copper-bearing mineral in sulfide concentrates. The results from batch test work and continuous piloting of the Activox® process show that it is possible to achieve high copper extrac- tion from not only pure chalcopyrite

of the Activox® process show that it is possible to achieve high copper extrac- tion from

bearing copper concentrates but from polymetallic concentrates containing pentlandite, cobalt pentlandite, pyrrhotite and chalcopyrite.

Western Minerals Technology has designed and constructed a fully integrated and continuous pilot plant at their premises located at Osborne Park Western Australia. The piloting facilities incorporate all unit operations of the entire hydrometallurgical flow sheet, including fine

Figure 1: Typical Hydrometallurgical Flow sheet

Western Minerals Technology has found that Avecia’s AcorgaM-5640 reagent can directly treat the Activox ® leach liquors and achieve >99% copper extraction.

Concentrate

Fine Grinding Iron Removal Recovered Ammonia Pressure Liquid/Solid Cobalt SX Nickel SX NH 3 Recovery
Fine Grinding
Iron Removal
Recovered Ammonia
Pressure
Liquid/Solid
Cobalt SX
Nickel SX
NH 3 Recovery
Oxidation
Separation
Gypsum
Liquid/Solid
Cobalt pptn
Nickel EW
Copper SX
Slurry
Separation
Precipitate to
disposal
Cobalt
Nickel
Residue to disposal
Copper EW
Re-leach
Precipitate
Metal
Cu Raffinate Bleed
Activox®

Copper Metal

grinding, Activox® leach, solid/liquid separation, copper SX/EW, iron removal, cobalt SX and intermediate precipitation and nickel SX/EW as outlined in Figure 1.

The copper solvent extraction circuit consists of 2 extract and 2 strip stages of conventional mixer settlers. The circuit is designed to treat 100L/h of PLS, although much higher feed rates have been processed.

Western Minerals Technology has found that Avecia’s Acorga™ M-5640 reagent can directly treat the Activox® leach liquors and achieve >99% copper extraction from solutions that have a copper to nickel ratio exceeding 1:5. This is important for Western Minerals Technology as the

Table 2: Metal Extractions Across Copper SX

Metal

Metal

Cu

Ni

Co

CuSX

Extraction

99.5

0.6

0.3

Table 1: Typical Stream Compositions

 

Activox

Rich

Cu

 

Concentrate

Liquor*

Electrolyte

Cathode

 

%

g/L

g/L

ppm

Cu

2.5

4.4

38.3

999,982

Ni

4.2

23.3

0.15

0.8

Co

0.2

0.7

0.00

<0.01

* Recycle of Cu raffinate

 

majority of the Activox® leach liquors are mixed base metals liquors with the minor compound being copper. Table 1 gives the typical composition of copper PLS derived from a polymetallic concentrate. Table 2 gives typical metal extractions of the Western Minerals Technology copper SX circuit.

The stripping circuit is integrated with the copper electrowinning

circuit. The strip circuit is capable of producing high quality rich electrolyte with a Cu:M2+ ratio exceeding 255:1. The high Cu:M2+ ratio of the rich

electrolyte shows that LME grade copper cathode will be produced during electrowinning. Table 3 gives the analysis of a copper cathode

Table 3: Typical WMT Copper Cathode Analysis

Anolyte

Unit

LME Limit

 

Cathode

 

1

2

3

Bi

ppm

<2

<0.1

0.1

<0.1

Se

ppm

<2

0.1

0.1

0.3

Te

ppm

<2

0.3

0.3

0.2

Group

ppm

<3

0.5

0.5

0.6

As

ppm

<5

<0.1

<0.1

<0.1

Cd

ppm

0.2

<0.1

0.2

Cr

ppm

<0.1

0.1

0.2

Mn

ppm

<0.1

0.1

0.1

P

ppm

<0.1

<0.1

<0.1

Sb

ppm

<4

0.1

0.4

0.2

Group

ppm

<15

0.7

0.9

0.9

Pb

ppm

<5

3

0.7

0.8

S

ppm

<15

2

5.2

9.3

Co

ppm

<0.1

<0.1

<0.1

Fe

ppm

<10

6.9

8.1

4.7

Ni

ppm

1

0.8

0.5

Sn

ppm

<0.1

<0.1

<0.1

Si

ppm

<0.1

0.1

<0.1

Zn

ppm

0.4

1.3

0.9

Group

ppm

<20

8.6

10.5

6.4

Ag

ppm

<25

0.3

0.3

0.7

Total

ppm

<65

15.1

18.1

18.7

0.7 Total ppm <65 15.1 18.1 18.7 produced from this circuit during a pilot campaign. Western

produced from this circuit during a pilot campaign.

Western Minerals Technology has found the Acorga M-5640 reagent to be:

extremely selective for copper over other metals contained within complex and mixed liquors;

capable of high copper extraction in relatively acidic solutions;

readily stripped to give high quality rich electrolyte and LME grade copper cathode during electrowinning.

The recycle of the Cu SX raffinate

to the Activox® circuit makes good use of the acid in this stream and closes the loop of what is a very elegant circuit.

The logical extension of WMT’s work on poly-metallic concentrates is the treatment of copper concentrates. This application is essentially the front-end of its more comprehensive poly-metallic flow sheet, which has been extensively tested at pilot scale. Western Minerals Technology’s work has shown that Activox® and conventional copper solvent extraction fit together extremely well to form a very effective process. Western Mineral Technology foresees an increased emphasis on Activox® processing of copper-gold concentrates and intends to focus on optimizing the technology to enable the economic exploitation of ‘difficult’ sulfide ore bodies.

Upcoming Industry Events

Look for MEP staff at the following upcoming Industry events:

October 3-4, 2002 Acorga Seminar, Iquique, Chile (by invitation only)

December 7-8, 2002 SME Tucson Meeting, Tucson, AZ, USA

February 24-26, 2003 SME Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, OH, USA

March 2-6, 2003 TMS Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, USA

March 2-6, 2003 TMS Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, USA Business Headquarters Avecia Inc. Metal Extraction

Business Headquarters Avecia Inc.

Metal Extraction Products

1405 Foulk Road

P.O. Box 15457 Wilmington, DE 19850-5457 USA Tel: (302) 477-8243 Fax: (302) 477-8150

North American Regional Office Avecia Inc. Metal Extraction Products

3259 E. Harbour Dr., Suite 100

Phoenix, AZ 85034 USA Tel: (602) 470-1446 Fax: (602) 470-5030

South American Regional Office Avecia Limitada Metal Extraction Products Andres de Fuenzalida 147 Providencia, Santiago CHILE Tel: 56-2-3365300 Fax: 56-2-3365310

Regional Office for Europe, Africa and the Middle East Avecia Ltd. Metal Extraction Products P.O. Box 42 Blackley Manchester M9 8ZS ENGLAND Tel: 44-161-740-1460 Fax: 44-161-721-4794

Australia Avecia Trading Limited 15 Edgars Road P.O. Box 247 Thomastown, Victoria 3074 Australia Tel: 61-(0)-3-9460-7704 Fax: 61-(0)-3-9460-7758

Acorga Notes will be published approximately twice per year for the international mining industry. Editorial content will include:

industry news; information on progress particularly in hydromet technology; relevant scientific articles; and news on the Metal Extraction Products Business (MEP) of Avecia Inc.

Editor:

Keith Cramer

Coordinator:

Valerie Calvarese

Design/Layout:

Creative Marketing Group, Inc.

Please direct any questions, comments, or requests for corrections or changes to the distribution list to Valerie Calvarese:

Phone (U.S.) 1-800-435-8679 - Ext. 8113 Phone (Direct): 1-302-477-8113 email: valerie.calvarese@avecia.com

COPYRIGHT© 10/02 Avecia Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A. Acorga is a trademark, the property of Avecia Ltd., an Avecia Group Company.

Metal Extraction Products