Core Resources has announced that its proprietary Toowong ProcessTM Technology has been acquired by “a leading resources group.” The process safely removes arsenic, antimony and other impurities from copper concentrates. At the heart of the process is a patented Alkaline Leaching (AL) step that selectively solubilises key penalty impurities. The process produces a clean premium concentrate which is highly desirable for copper smelters.
The company argues that Toowong Process is a significant breakthrough in arsenic leaching, which has until now required large and expensive quantities of sulphide reagents, and management of large sulphate waste streams. “In the Toowong Process, Core has developed process chemistry that is self-sustaining, allowing most of the reagents to be generated from the concentrate in situ in the leach, or recovered downstream and recycled.”
It adds: “Copper operations globally are facing increasing challenges with arsenic. As clean copper ore bodies are depleted, increasingly dirty ore bodies – with higher grades of deleterious elements – are being brought into production. The increasing presence of arsenic in concentrates is a sign of the global challenge facing the copper industry to meet global demand arising from the renewable energy transition.”
Arsenic has huge environmental and health issues for smelters, with many situated near high density populations. “Globally, the smelter industry is responding to this by restricting the level of arsenic they will accept in concentrates. This has mainly involved blending, which does nothing to reduce the global arsenic load in smelters. Since 2014, arsenic in concentrates has exceeded the global smelting capacity to treat it.”
The Toowong Process Core says enables operations to manage arsenic in ore bodies at or near mine site. The product from the Toowong Process is a clean premium concentrate that can be shipped directly to smelters. “Using the Toowong Process, arsenic can be fixed in an environmentally stable form at source. The benefits of this are enormous – instead of shipping arsenic across the globe to densely populated areas, it is safely and permanently stored at source.”
Core has been developing the Toowong Process since 2009. “This latest development provides outstanding recognition for the commitment and hard work from the Core team over the many years it has taken to advance this innovative and industry-changing process.”
Lachlan MacDonald, Core’s Toowong Process Technology Manager, had this to say about this latest important development: “we are delighted to be collaborating with our strategic partner and are excited to embark on the next stage of technology development. This acquisition represents a significant milestone in commercialising the Toowong Process Technology.”
Core and its unnamed partner will now complete the final stage of technology commercialisation. This will include the design and operation of a fully integrated continuous demonstration plant of the complete flowsheet at Core’s laboratories in Brisbane. The objective of this final stage of development is to deliver engineering data to allow the design of a full-scale commercial treatment plant.