Tag Archives: Atalaya Mining

Atalaya Mining evaluating Lain Tech’s E-LIX System for copper cathode production

Atalaya Mining has commenced the execution of a feasibility study to evaluate the economic viability of producing cathodes from complex sulphide ores prevalent in the Iberian Pyrite Belt through the application of a new extraction process called the E-LIX System.

The production of cathodes has the potential to generate cost savings by reducing charges associated with concentrate transportation, treatment and refining, and penalty elements, while also reducing carbon emissions, the company said.

E-LIX System is a newly developed electrochemical extraction process developed and owned by Lain Technologies Ltd, led by Dr Eva Lain, who holds a PhD in Electrochemistry research from the University of Cambridge.

Through the application of singular catalysts and physico-chemical conditions, E-LIX System is able to achieve high metal recoveries under low residence times, by accomplishing rapid reaction rates while overcoming classic surface passivation issues that have typically impaired metal recovery from complex sulphide ores, Atalaya said. E-LIX System is considered to be a more environmentally-friendly process than existing technologies; it generates zero emissions and does not consume water or acid, and runs under mild operating conditions (atmospheric pressure and room temperature).

Patented in 2014 by Lain Tech, the E-LIX System has been developed in collaboration with Atalaya from an initial concept in the laboratory to a fully operational pilot plant located at Proyecto Riotinto, in Spain.

The pilot plant with a capacity of 5 t/d has been running for the past nine months, with only mandatory stoppage owing to COVID-19 restrictions. Leach rates of up to 250 kg/h have been achieved processing copper concentrates, zinc concentrates and blends of different types of sulphides, according to the company. The pilot plant also contains a solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX-EW) section and has successfully produced high purity copper cathodes as a proof of concept.

Excellent leach results with recovery rates well over 90% have been attained, the company said. Fast kinetics for copper and zinc have also been successfully achieved overcoming the well-known passivation problem of leaching primary sulphides.

The pilot plant has demonstrated that the E-LIX System effectively treats the impurity levels typically associated with the complex sulphides present in the pyrite belt that runs through the south of Portugal and Spain and prevalent at Proyecto Riotinto.

During the past five years, Atalaya has provided financial assistance to Lain Tech to develop the E-LIX System and has now reached an agreement with Lain Tech to use its patents, on an exclusive licence basis within the Iberian pyrite belt in Spain and Portugal.

Under the terms of the licence agreement and based on the encouraging operating results at the pilot plant, the company has commissioned a feasibility study to evaluate the construction of an industrial scale plant for the production of a minimum of 10,000 t/y of copper cathode metal. The study at a cost of around €1 million ($1.2 million) will be funded by Atalaya and is expected to be finalised in 2021. The agreement also provides for a profit sharing arrangement between Atalaya and Lain Tech.

“The feasibility study will be based on the results obtained from the pilot plant and aims to confirm the scalability of the E-LIX System and the capital and operating costs of the industrial plant,” Atalaya said. “Should the industrial plant be built, it will be funded and constructed by Atalaya with Lain Tech designing, operating and managing the E-LIX System.”

Atalaya believes that the use of the E-LIX System could potentially be applicable to the large amount of complex sulphide ore inventory present throughout the Iberian pyrite belt, including Atalaya’s mining properties such as Proyecto Riotinto and Proyecto Masa Valverde, it said.

Atalaya CEO, Alberto Lavandeira, said: “We are fortunate to have been given this unique opportunity to work with Dr Eva Lain in the development of the E-LIX System. I believe this system has the potential to play an important role in the economic treatment of many complex orebodies worldwide. We look forward to updating the market on the results of the feasibility study.”

Atalaya Mining looks to solar power for Proyecto Riotinto GHG emission, cost reductions

Atalaya Mining is looking to take advantage of a natural abundance of sunlight at its Proyecto Riotinto copper operation in Spain with the development of a 50 MW solar plant.

The company announced today that it has started the permitting process for the plant build, with the 50 MW generated set to be used for “self-consumption” at the operation.

Technical studies carried out by a third party during the past months have indicated that, in addition to making a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions, the solar project is economically viable and could potentially contribute to reducing Proyecto Riotinto’s operating costs, Atalaya said.

“The decision to pursue the solar project is in line with Atalaya’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability and to continue to have a positive impact on the people, environment and society surrounding the mine,” it added.

During the permitting period, the company will evaluate the various financing options being proposed by industry players in Spain.

Subject to completing the permitting process and securing financing, construction is targeted to commence by mid-2021.

Alberto Lavandeira, CEO of Atalaya Mining, said: “We are pleased to be committing to this solar initiative which will be one of the largest projects of renewable self-consumption in the industry. This is only a first step in achieving our long-term sustainability goals, but one that will have a positive and near term impact on Proyecto Riotinto.”

Earlier this year, Atalaya Mining completed an expansion of the operation to hit 15 Mt/y, up from the previous rate of 9.5 Mt/y.

New name and new speakers for MMH mining event in Seville

The international Mining and Minerals Hall (MMH), in Seville, Spain, has more than 70 speakers lined up for its next edition, taking place on October 15-17.

MMH 2019, taking place at the Seville Conference and Exhibition Centre (FIBES), is the third edition of the meeting. While it will keep the same format as the previous two events, this year’s MMH has changed focus. Previously named Metallic Mining Hall, the change is aimed at creating an inclusive meeting for the entire mining sector embracing sectors such as industrial minerals this time around.

The King, Don Felipe VI, Pedro Sánchez, President of the Government, and Juan Manuel Moreno, President of Junta de Andalucía, will be leading MMH’s Honorary Committee, which has devised an event that will attract participation from the main mining industries and representation from ancillary service companies. The exhibition area, which has been expanded since the last event in 2017, is to host more than 100 companies.

MMH has attracted a stellar list of speakers this time around, who will analyse the latest industry trends and share their experiences in the regional industry, which has recovered its role as one of the most important engines of the Andalusia economy.

As Javier Targhetta, CEO of the metallurgy company Atlantic Copper, and Commissioner of this new edition of MMH, said: “This evolution of the Hall can only be explained by the recovery of a sector which, in the last few years, has striven to find new ways and procedures to develop its activity efficiently and sustainably.”

Targhetta is right. In the two years since the last edition of MMH, the Riotinto copper mine has expanded, MATSA has ramped up its operations and, more recently, Cobre Las Cruces is considering a significant mine life extension through a new underground and pyrometallurgical project.

Targetta continued: “This is shown by the increase in the number of professionals from the different fields of mining who will participate in the scientific conference and will also enrich the knowledge of the conference attendants with their work, their experience and their innovative spirit.”

Sustainability and achieving a more sustainable, environmentally friendly mining industry will be a key theme of the conference, with roundtables such as ‘Competitiveness, sustainability and security of energy supply for mining and industry’ looking to confront the issue head on. This panel will see José Luis del Valle Doblado take on the chairman’s role, drawing on his experience as President of the MMH Scientific Committee and Chair of LAR ESPAÑA and WiZink.

The panel, ‘Circular economy opportunities for the mining industry’, meanwhile, will be moderated by Vicente Gutiérrez Peinador, General Manager of CONFEDEM, the National Mining Association of Spain. He will, no doubt, also have some thoughts to share on the sustainability panel given CONFEDEM recently became the fifth national mining association outside of Canada to adopt the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining® initiative.

Luis Montoto Rojo, Communications Director of Junta de Andalucía’s Taxation, Industry and Energy Department, will have his work cut out as moderator of a session titled, ‘Social licence to operate: mining industry management and its connection with society’. Miners in Andalucia, in recent years, have done well to win back the trust of local and regional communities following a tailings dam failure at the Los Frailes lead-zinc mine, in 1998, that damaged the two’s relationship. Expect to hear some examples of this positive engagement during the panel.

This is not all. The event program also includes presentations by José F Sánchez-Junco, CEO of explosives and blasting expert MAXAM, speaking on the subject, ‘Innovation and energetic materials in the mining operation’.

The Confederation of Rock and Industrial Mineral Extractive Industries (COMINROC) has played an integral role in organising the third edition of MMH, having signed an alliance with MMH and Congresos y Turismo de Sevilla (CONTURSA), the company managing the MMH venue, FIBES, back in March. Representing 10 sectors of the extractive industry, namely aggregates, lime, cement, industrial minerals, ornamental rock, clay, slate, magnesite, siliceous sand and gypsum, COMINROC’s participation was key in ensuring miners from these segments participated in this third edition. César Luaces Frades, Technical General Secretary of COMINROC, will present, ‘Extractive industry strategy for biodiversity: a key actor’, at the event.

Meanwhile, Glenn Orveillon, an expert in the circular economy and industrial leadership of the European Commission, will share his experience of working in the institution in a session titled, ‘Circular economy in the European Union’.

Atlantic Copper’s Targhetta will moderate a panel titled, ‘Present situation, threats and opportunities of metallic mining’, steering a stellar lineup of participants including Alberto Lavandeira, CEO of Atalaya Mining – the owner of the historic Riotinto copper mine – Audra Walsh, CEO of MATSA – the owner of three base and precious metal mines in Andalucia – Isabel Suárez Díaz, Secretary General of the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain, IGME; Juan Pedro Soler, CEO of Cobre Las Cruces – the only hydrometallurgical copper producer in Europe; and Mark Rachovides, President of Euromines.

The ‘Mining policies and investments’ panel will be moderated by Antonio García Muñoz, Managing Partner of Lener’s Mining Sector area; and ‘Biodiversity management in the extractive industry’ will be chaired by Lafarge Holcim España’s Pilar Gegúndez Cámara.

The following talks will also be given: ‘Raw materials and geopolitics’ by Isaac Querub, Co-Founder and Partner of Moka Consulting; and ‘Premises for the new Mining Strategy in Andalusia, starting point’, by Natalia González Herrera, Junta de Andalucía’s General Secretary of Industry, Energy and Mines.

Finally, several round tables will take a future view on the mining sector of Andalucia.

‘Challenges and opportunities in the rock and industrial mineral sector’ will be moderated by Aniceto Zaragoza Ramírez, General Manager of The Spanish Cement Association, OFICEMEN. Mining original equipment manufacturer Epiroc will be represented up on stage by José Manuel Sánchez Blanes, President of Drilling Solutions. He will moderate a panel titled, ‘Innovation and development in the mining industry: mining as a forward-looking project’. Given Epiroc’s investments in battery-electric and automated equipment for underground mines, he will have much to add here.

Horizon 2020, the European Union’s biggest research and innovation program ever with nearly €80 billion ($88 billion) of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020), will also be discussed during the conference. Lydia González, Spain’s representative in the program’s committee, CDTI, will present, ‘Research and innovation on raw materials in Horizon Europe, UE’s 9th Framework Programme 2021-2027’.

There will also be a series of workshops at the event to suit all participants needs.

To hear more about the event, visit the website here.

International Mining is a media sponsor of the third edition of MMH in Seville