Atalaya Mining reported its June quarter results today, noting that its continued balance sheet strength, which included net cash of €67.6 million ($69 million), continued to support its ongoing investment program.
Included within this investment program is a project to recover high value copper and zinc metals from the complex sulphide concentrates sourced from Proyecto Riotinto in Spain using the E-LIX System.
E-LIX 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 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 says. It is considered to be a more environmentally-friendly process than existing technologies, generating zero emissions, and does not consume water or acid. It also runs under mild operating conditions (atmospheric pressure and room temperature).
Patented in 2014 by Lain Technologies, 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.
Earlier this year, Atalaya Mining approved the construction of the first phase of an industrial-scale plant using E-LIX. This followed a feasibility study to evaluate the technical and economic viability of producing cathodes from complex sulphide concentrates by applying the technology.
In the most recent quarterly results, Atalaya said development progress continued at the Phase I plant, noting that the system was expected to provide numerous benefits including higher metal recoveries, lower transportation and concentrate treatment charges and reduced carbon emissions.
The company expects the plant to be ready for commissioning by the end of 2022, it added, with all equipment orders placed and initial construction activities on the site having commenced.
In the first half of 2022, the company incurred capex of €5.8 million related to the E-LIX Phase I plant, of which €5.3 million represents long term loans to Lain Technologies.