Tag Archives: copper leaching

BASF and Moleaer join up to tackle primary copper sulphide leaching issues

BASF and Moleaer™ Inc have announced an exclusive partnership to combine expertise in mineral processing, hydrometallurgy, gas transfer and nanobubble technology to develop what they say are innovative processes for mining.

The initial aim is to target the copper leaching process and improve extraction rates of copper ores containing high levels of chalcopyrite, which have historically been difficult to leach.

The companies explained: “Copper is extracted from primary sulphide ores through a flotation process and low-grade ores are traditionally discarded because they are too costly to process. Currently, an alternative hydrometallurgical heap leach process is employed for low-grade oxide and secondary sulphide ores. It is, however, very difficult to leach primary sulfide ores, such as chalcopyrite, which leads to low recovery efficiencies.”

Based on test work conducted by BASF, Moleaer’s nanobubble technology improves the extraction process of valuable metals such as copper.

When combined with BASF’s LixTRA™ reagent, the mineral recovery rates and efficiencies are compounded, especially in sulphide-based ores, such as chalcopyrite, they claim.

Caren Hoffman, who leads the global mining solutions business at BASF, stated: “Technological improvements and collaborations like the one we announced today are essential if the industry is to maximise the recovery of copper at existing mines. By combining BASF’s LixTRA reagent, allowing greater ore-lixiviant contact, together with Moleaer’s nanobubble technology to facilitate a higher oxidative environment, we offer technology to the industry to significantly increase copper recoveries.”

Nick Dyner, CEO of Moleaer, added: “We look forward to working with BASF, a global leader in mineral extraction chemistry, to improve the recovery of copper and help support the green economy. This important collaboration comes at a time when the ability of mining copper is only getting more costly and challenging. Moleaer’s nanobubble technology will allow the mining industry to improve the efficiency and efficacy in existing mines and narrow the gap between supply and demand of copper.”

Rio Tinto’s Nuton to test leaching tech at McEwen Copper’s Los Azules project

McEwen Copper’s Los Azules project in Argentina looks like becoming the latest potential leaching asset put under the Nuton® Technologies microscope after the signing of a collaboration agreement between McEwen Copper and Nuton.

The agreement, tied to an oversubscribed $81.85 million offering of McEwen Copper shares, will see Nuton, a Rio Tinto Venture, test its technology for compatibility with Los Azules copper mineralisation.

Nuton, for its part, also contributed $25 million into the funds raised by McEwen Copper.

Rio Tinto’s copper leaching technology venture has been in the headlines of late, signing deals with, among other companies, Arizona Sonoran Copper Company Inc and Lion Copper and Gold, to test out its solutions.

Nuton is aimed at growing Rio Tinto’s copper business. At its core is a portfolio of proprietary copper leach related technologies and capability – a product of almost 30 years of research and development.

Rio says the Nuton technologies offer the potential to economically unlock known low-grade copper sulphide resources, copper bearing waste and tailings, and achieve higher copper recoveries on oxide and transitional material, allowing for a significantly increased copper production outcome, according to Rio. One of the key differentiators of Nuton is the potential to deliver leading environmental performance, including more efficient water usage, lower carbon emissions, and the ability to reclaim mine sites by reprocessing mine waste, Rio claims.

McEwen Copper and Nuton will jointly undertake copper leach testing using Nuton Technologies with samples from Los Azules. McEwen Copper has agreed to grant exclusivity to Nuton for one year in the area of novel, patented or trade secret leaching technology, while it will continue its independent test work and studies using conventional leach technologies.

McEwen Copper Chief Executive, Rob McEwen, said: “We recognise the potential opportunity of using Nuton Technologies to produce copper in greater amounts, more rapidly, and with less impact on the environment and water resources. I trust that our relationship with Nuton and Rio Tinto will accelerate the process of realising the enormous potential of Los Azules.”

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Copper, Bold Baatar said: “This agreement will allow us to evaluate the potential to commercially deploy Rio Tinto’s innovative Nuton Technologies for copper leaching in McEwen Copper’s planned development of Los Azules. Our Nuton Technologies have the capacity to unlock increased copper production for Rio Tinto and our partners, with a low carbon footprint and leading environmental performance.”

The next milestones at Los Azules are the upcoming drilling season from October 2022 to June 2023, the completion of an updated preliminary economic assessment early in the March quarter, and the planned initial public offering of McEwen Copper in the first half of 2023.

Los Azules’ current copper resources are estimated at 10.2 billion pounds (4.6 Mt) at a grade of 0.48% Cu (indicated category) and an additional 19.3 billion pounds (8.8 Mt) at a grade of 0.33% Cu (inferred category).

Jetti Resources to spell out carbon footprint, water consumption benefits of copper tech

Jetti Resources is looking to quantify the carbon footprint and water consumption benefits of its patented catalytic technology for extraction of copper in a series of reports that follows the publication of its first Sustainability Report.

Jetti was founded in 2014 with the vision of using its technology to revolutionise the copper industry – making it more efficient, lower impact, and a better steward of the world’s scarce resources. It is looking to do this through bolting its technology onto existing solvent extraction/electrowinning leaching plants for rapid deployment with limited capital expenditure. It has previously stated that there are huge environmental benefits from using its technology for leaching over pyrometallurgy.

The company says it intends to conduct a carbon footprint study and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) this year, with the latter study including analyses of typical copper mining operations without Jetti’s technology and a mining operation with Jetti’s technology installed. The LCA is being conducted in conformance with the ISO 14040/44 standard and will be critically reviewed by an independent expert.

Jetti has also commited to starting to track water usage and waste at all its operations and sites, which includes the installation it has at Capstone Mining’s Pinto Valley operation in the US.

Mike Outwin, Jetti’s CEO, said: “This year marks the first year in Jetti’s sustainability reporting journey and sets out how we will responsibly enable the production of the copper that the world needs for the clean energy transition.

“We have made important commitments for the year ahead, including completion of a LCA of our technology and a carbon footprint study. These efforts will clearly demonstrate Jetti’s advantages in producing copper with a low carbon footprint and low water consumption, when compared to traditional milling and refining methods.

“We are now entering a pivotal period in Jetti’s growth, and I look forward to reporting on our progress next year as we continue to deliver on our objectives.”

Earlier this year, Jetti announced that it had entered into an agreement with Teck Resources for the mining major to evaluate its technology at a number of assets with potential copper resources outside of existing mine plans.