Tag Archives: leaching

Hycroft Mining continues evaluation of novel sulphide heap oxidation/leach process

After testing out a “novel” oxidation and leaching process at the Hycroft Mine in Nevada, USA, Hycroft Mining Holding Corp is making plans to go back to a conventional oxide leaching setup in 2021.

The company produced 27,392 oz of gold and 178,836 oz of silver in 2020, an almost three-fold increase over 2019. It hit these numbers while operating at a pre-commercial scale using the novel process, which oxidises sulphides ahead of leaching.

It is now planning for run-of-mine production of 45,000-55,000 oz of gold and 400,000-450,000 oz of silver in 2021 using conventional cyanide heap leach.

It is anticipated that mining in the first four months of 2021 will be performed using the existing Hycroft fleet and a rental fleet, moving approximately 1.5 Mt/mth of ore and waste. For the remainder of the year, Hycroft intends to mine some 500,000 t of oxide and transitional ore and waste per month with a more cost-effective mining fleet.

Diane R Garrett, President & Chief Executive Officer, reflected on the results: “2020 was an important year for Hycroft as the company continued to focus on the restart of the Hycroft Mine. Throughout the year, we advanced work on the proprietary two-stage sulphide heap oxidation and leach process and made several important findings that will need to be addressed prior to our implementing the novel technology on a commercial scale.

“In 2021, we expect to mine predominantly oxide and transition material, which are more economic when treated using a conventional run-of-mine heap leaching method, which gives us the opportunity to continue to refine the operating parameters and flowsheet for the new heap leach pad and novel process. While the company continued to make significant progress in better understanding this proprietary process and its application on a commercial scale, the past year also presented some operational challenges, including learning to navigate in a newly emerged COVID-19 world.”

In the last few months, Hycroft says it has worked alongside consultants to identify and investigate opportunities for improvements in operating parameters for the two-stage sulphide heap oxidisation and leach process. The result of the work to date has identified several items that were not considered or included in the original plan and design but are critical to the success of this process. These findings include:

  • Adding a forced air injection system for the leach pad which is a key component of the oxidation process;
  • Developing a system for segregating solution flows to and from the heap leach pad to avoid co-mingling of solutions among heap lifts and ore processing stages that negatively impact recoveries and conditions on the leach pads;
  • Identifying that the finer crushed material requires agglomeration in order to achieve optimal permeability and gold/silver recoveries;
  • Understanding that higher soda ash, caustic soda, and cyanide consumption will be required which Hycroft experienced throughout the 2020 pre-commercial test pad programs and recently confirmed through the review of the test work;
  • Determining that some transitional ores are more economically attractive when processed as direct leach, run-of-mine material; and
  • Concluding that additional variability metallurgical and mineralogy studies will be required to better understand each of the geometallurgical domains in the orebody. While there was some variability work completed in the past, the recent test work has revealed that additional variability test work and compositing is necessary to fully understand the geometallurgy of each domain, and that additional sampling, including sampling below the water table where the predominance of the sulphide resources exist, is required given the complexity and variability of the large orebody.

The additional variability test work will also include detailed mineralogy studies as it is important to understand the role other minerals may play in the overall oxidation process and to enhance Hycroft’s ability to measure oxidation rates accurately and consistently, it said.

The team at Hycroft has developed an approximate $10 million program for drilling and additional metallurgical and mineralogical studies in 2021. This program of work has been approved by the Board of Directors of Hycroft and can be funded from existing cash and Hycroft’s current operating plans.

Hycroft expects to mine and stockpile at least 300,000 tons (272,155 t) of sulphide ore in 2021 that, once sufficient additional work on the novel process has been completed, will be available for testing to further refine operating parameters and measure its performance for large scale application of the oxidation heap leach.

Garrett added: “2021 is a foundational year designed to advance the work necessary in preparation for larger-scale sulphide operations. The team is working diligently to optimise current and future heap leach mine plans and to evaluate all opportunities for more profitable mine plans in the near and medium term. This work involves taking a ‘ground up’ approach working from the orebody out. The company’s prior plan was developed using a $1,200/oz gold price pit shell which leaves profitable ore behind in the current gold and silver price environment. By running pit shells at recent gold and silver prices, we have identified additional areas of oxide mineralisation that can generate cash flows over the next several years and we have already begun to identify areas of higher-grade mineralisation that will become important for mine sequencing and further improving cash flows prior to accessing sulphide material.”

As the company considers life-of-mine development and planning for the Hycroft deposit, particularly in the current gold and silver price environment, Hycroft says it is prudent to evaluate proven processing technologies for treating some ore types that may be more profitable than only using the two-stage sulphide heap oxidation and leaching process.

Potential opportunities being examined by the company in 2021 include: developing an understanding of the grade range distribution of the sulphide material; completing on-going work on the higher-grade areas of Hycroft; and following up on historical high-grade intercepts.

In order to capitalise on these potential opportunities, which take advantage of the current commodity price environment, Hycroft believes that it should also evaluate the benefits of a multi-process operation. Long-term operating scenarios may include conventional run-of-mine cyanide heap leaching for the oxide and transitional material, sulphide heap oxidation and leaching using the novel process, and an appropriately sized milling and flotation plant for processing the higher-grade ranges of sulphide material.

“The company believes that the plan it has put in place for 2021 will provide the new team the time to fully consider and evaluate these opportunities and make any necessary changes to improve the leach pads, process plants and process flowsheet, maintain and develop its workforce, and advance the project, in order to further enhance the value of the project,” it said. “As the test work advances and alternative processes are considered, the company expects to perform technical studies and trade-off evaluations which may result in an updated feasibility study.”

Second Cat 994K wheel loader arrives at Capstone’s Pinto Valley in latest innovation push

Capstone Mining has brought a second Caterpillar 994K wheel loader to its Pinto Valley operation in Arizona, USA, as it looks to reduce its emissions and improve its operating cost base at the copper mine.

Last year, the mine added to its fleet a Cat 994K loader, which, the company says, burns circa-30 less gallons of fuel per hour (1.9 litres/min) than its current shovels. “This reduced our CO2 emissions and operational cost savings on approximately 116,000 gallons of fuel in 2020,” Capstone said.

The second 994K, added last week, will, in partnership with the first wheel loader, displace around 10,000 shovel hours a year and save approximately 410,000 gallons of fuel and millions in maintenance costs, the company claimed.

Capstone concluded: “Pinto Valley is innovating and optimising for exciting times ahead.”

This is not the only area of innovation the company is currently pursuing at Pinto Valley, an operation it acquired from BHP back in in October 2013.

In its 2020 results, released last month, Capstone said the implementation of phase one of its PV3 Optimization project at Pinto Valley had delivered a 10% sustainable throughput improvement compared with 2019.

The PV3 Optimization project has been designed to achieve safer, more reliable and higher capacity operations without major investments in new comminution equipment. It is doing this by leveraging new inexpensive technologies.

Phase one work, which included improved blast fragmentation processes, installation of a new secondary crusher and screen decks as well as a new mill shell, was completed last year. This saw the mine achieve throughput of 57,168 t/d in the December quarter, 10% higher than the annual 2019 average of 51,137 t/d. December 2020 mill throughput achieved 60,717 t/d, which represents a new monthly record in the mine’s operating history.

Phase two of the PV3 Optimization project is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021, upon completion of upgrades to a conveyor, mill auto controls, cyclone packs and retrofits to the thickeners, it said.

During the month of December, the company conducted a pilot plant test of Eriez HydroFloat coarse particle technology at Pinto Valley, with Capstone saying the results had surpassed expectations of a 6% improvement target to overall copper recovery. In fact, the tests showed a 6-8% increase in overall copper recovery was achievable, which, when combined with expected higher throughput rates, could result in an additional 9-12 MIb/y (4,082-5,443 t/y) of copper production at the operation, it said.

“Additional benefits to the technology include allowing the operation increased throughput by operating at a coarser grind size, which is expected to lower power costs, improve water consumption and lead to improved stability in the tailings storage facility,” Capstone said in its 2020 results. “The estimated $70 million expansionary capital, which includes the installation of Eriez HydroFloat and related equipment, if approved by the board of directors, is expected to be spread over half two 2021 and early 2022, with start-up expected in Q2 (June quarter) 2022.”

Capstone said it expects to release an updated NI 43-101 technical report that encompasses the PV3 Optimization Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects and improvements in the second half of 2021.

At the same time, it is also looking into a PV4 study at Pinto Valley.

Capstone explained: “Feasibility work on scenarios to take advantage of approximately one billion tonnes of mineral resource not currently in the mineral reserve mine plan, which is at similar grade to the current mineral reserves, will be conducted for Pinto Valley.”

The PV4 study is expected to be released in late 2022 and will contemplate using existing mill infrastructure rather than building new facilities, with higher mining rates, higher cutoff grades to the mill and increased tonnage available for leaching.

Extensive column leach test work in collaboration with Jetti Resources LLC will take place over 2021. Jetti’s patented catalytic technology, designed to allow for the efficient and effective heap and stockpile leach extraction of copper, has been a success at Pinto Valley’s leaching operation, where it expects to recover up to 350 million pounds of cathode copper over the next two decades from historic and new mineralised waste piles.

“Capstone is a pioneer in the application of this leach technology and we intend to use it to enhance the economics of a future expansion at Pinto Valley,” it said.

Nitrogen tyres and oxygen generators bring safety and sustainability to mines

David Cheeseman*, Chief Engineer of Oxair Gas Systems, believes the mining industry should take on board the latest on-site gas generation technology to help improve safety and reduce its carbon footprint.

The mining industry is becoming a lot more technology-focused, with advancements in autonomous mining technology and automated surface vehicles, as the industry presses ahead to reduce carbon emissions and boost safety in mining.

The International Council on Mining & Metals’ (ICMM) Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles (ICSV) initiative – a supply chain collaboration with original equipment manufacturers (OEM) – is to be applauded. However, in the meantime, rugged terrain will still be taking its toll on the tyres of mining vehicles, which are the workhorses of the extraction process.

These trucks operate in harsh environments and extremes of temperatures, which is why nitrogen-filled tyres are ideal, because they remain inflated for longer and are more resistant to hot climates and freezing at high altitudes, making them safer for operators and site staff alike. Unlike compressed air, nitrogen is an inert gas that does not react with other materials, so it is resistant to corrosion and, therefore, provides an extra tier of safety where critical applications are involved.

It is imperative that tyres are fully inflated to reduce the risk of critical air leaks and rapid deflation when the vehicles are under pressure. But being at the mercy of the supply chain for bottled nitrogen, especially in extreme locations where conditions are challenging, is costly. Nitrogen can be difficult to transport, not to mention the additional carbon footprint of delivery vehicles and safety risks for staff manually moving cylinders from one place to another, especially with the new threat of contamination posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, companies can avoid the hassle of having to outsource their gas from conventional cylinders by switching to an on-tap supply through a nitrogen generator. A nitrogen generator on site is the ideal alternative choice to manhandling canisters for heavy-duty equipment where precise or constant pressure is vital.

Oxair’s nitrogen generators are efficient and compact, making them an ideal solution for mining sites. They offer a continuous flow of gas extracted from the atmosphere and are an environmentally friendlier method of delivery, as they reduce the carbon footprint associated with having

Oxair’s nitrogen generators are efficient and compact, making them an ideal solution for mining sites, David Cheeseman says

cylinders transported from an off-site facility and then the return journey when they are empty.

Nitrogen generators are cheap to run and, once installed, require minimal maintenance. Nitrogen plants are built to last and are operator friendly, making them crucial where tyres need to perform well in a remote location or challenging environment.

As with all high-quality engineering solutions, nitrogen generators can be tailored exactly to suit an individual mine’s requirements. They can be designed for outdoor or covered facilities and, as well as offering low energy consumption, a supplier should be able to provide on-site training to enable local employees to properly calibrate and easily maintain the system once it is operational, as well as full ongoing maintenance support.

Some of the world’s leading gold mining companies are already seeing the benefits of gas on tap at sites rather than taking deliveries of traditional cylinders. Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen equipment supplied by Oxair is helping AngloGold Ashanti extract more of the precious metal from one of its flagship gold mines, potentially extending the life of the open-pit operation in Tanzania.

Two booster processors for increasing oxygen pressure and two oxygen generator tonnage plants to further improve the efficiency of the leaching process are in operation at AngloGold’s Geita Gold Mine, enhancing gold recoveries and protecting the environment by reducing cyanide consumption.

This equipment is helping to increase production and extend the mine’s lifespan beyond 2025, when it was originally set for closure. The state-of-the-art equipment supplied, which includes upgraded control systems, will double the reliable source of pure oxygen for the future activities planned at Geita. It will mean significant efficiencies in carbon in the leach technology method of gold recovery and should help the mine be both economically and environmentally sound for its extended lifespan.

Using oxygen generators significantly improves the gold dissolution process through adding highly purified oxygen at the slurry stage of leaching. Mined rock is usually ground up and turned into a slurry by adding lime, cyanide, oxygen and water before being fed through a carbon bed to extract the gold. Incorporating highly purified oxygen allows cyanide to work more efficiently and, thus, reduces the quantity of cyanide needed in the process.

A PSA tonnage plant takes oxygen directly from the air using on average of only 3 kW of electricity per 100 cu.ft of oxygen produced and transforms it into highly purified oxygen by removing nitrogen entrainments (which are useless to the leaching process).

Using oxygen generators significantly improves the gold dissolution process through adding highly purified oxygen at the slurry stage of leaching

Oxygen tonnage plants are designed for on-site applications requiring large amounts of oxygen, such as mining, with outdoor or covered standard installations – PSA equipment is bringing numerous advantages to the mining industry, as well as eliminating the need for expensive and unreliable deliveries of liquid or cylinder oxygen.

On-site generators provide mines with a turnkey solution for getting a constant, reliable source of high-quality oxygen and nitrogen where it is needed. It is clear that with responsible mining practices geared up for long-term sustainability, investments in quality equipment will be key to achieving both safety and sustainability goals.

*This piece was written by David Cheeseman, Chief Engineer of Oxair Gas Systems. Oxair is an ISO 9001 certified company focused on the design and manufacture of packaged oxygen PSA Systems, as well as Nitrogen PSA systems up to 1,000 Nm3/h.

SGS to bring Glencore Technology’s Albion Process testing to Africa mining market

SGS Minerals is to offer Glencore Technology’s Albion Process™ test work to mining companies in Africa after the two extended an agreement and certification related to the hydrometallurgical process.

While SGS already has a relationship with Glencore Technology through SGS Lakefield – through an agreement signed last year – the extension opens up the potential for more large packages of work of “high relevance and value”, Glencore Technology says.

“For Glencore Technology, it extends further the global reach of Albion Process test work as it has grown 300% in the last 12-24 months and is seen as uniquely viable in terms of capital costs, operational costs and project feasibility,” the company said.

The new test work locations will now include Randberg in South Africa, with other locations being discussed elsewhere around the world, according to Glencore Technology.

The Albion Process uses a combination of ultrafine grinding and oxidative leaching at atmospheric pressure to work. It also tolerates a more variable feed and lower grade than other processes, according to Glencore Technology, meaning it can make some projects feasible and profitable where alternative technologies could not. The sulphides in the feed are oxidised and valuable metals liberated, with the economic metals recovered by conventional downstream processing. Test work requires only small sample masses with no pilot plant, Glencore Technology says.

The process has produced high recoveries in refractory gold and in base metal concentrates at the six Albion Process plants in operation across the globe, according to the company.

Glencore Technology’s Paul Voigt said: “The extension to Africa has been under discussion for quite some time. We know the importance of local contact and context. It’s also part of a wider focus we have for the African continent.”

SGS’ Niels Verbaan, said: “This is a natural and highly relevant extension of our work with Glencore Technology on Albion Process test work. We look forward to a larger global footprint to help operations in Africa and the Americas, especially those with complex mineralogies, to get an objective opinion on process options.”

SGS is the third certified provider of test work, joining Core Resources in Australia and TOMS Institute in Russia.

ValeOre Metals considering Platsol, Falcon separator, Steinert ore sorting for Pedra Branca

ValeOre Metals Corp’s Pedra Branca platinum group element (PGE) project, in north-eastern Brazil, looks increasingly like leveraging the Platsol™ high temperature pressure leaching process judging by the latest test work.

Metallurgical results from sample material collected from outcrops at the Trapia and Curiu deposits areas at Pedra Branca for two preliminary Platsol tests conducted at SGS Lakefield, Ontario, have shown recoveries of 93.4-93.6% for palladium and 95.3-95.7% for platinum were achieved.

The company now plans two additional Platsol tests, to be performed by SGS, to determine the effects of adding elemental sulphur to the autoclave to optimise conditions required for PGE and gold recoveries, it said.

Platsol is a high temperature (>200°C) pressure leaching process designed to recover PGEs, gold and base metals. It has been shown to be particularly effective with PGE ore feeds characterised by high concentrations of chromium and low concentrations of sulphide, much like Pedra Branca, according to ValeOre Metals. The PGEs and gold are solubilised as chloro-complexes by the addition of chloride salt to the autoclave, while base metal sulphides are oxidised to form soluble metal sulphate complexes. The precious metals can be recovered directly from the autoclave discharge slurry by carbon absorption, or by precipitation with sulphide ions.

Platsol consists of standard, proven traditional technologies that are in use in mines around the world, according to the company.

The Platsol tests are part of a comprehensive mineralogical evaluation ongoing at SGS to characterise the speciation of palladium and platinum in Pedra Branca mineralisation to guide future process optimisation initiatives.

As part of this, the company is continuing with Falcon Ultrafine gravity separation test work as a potential pre-concentration circuit to upgrade feed material and improve mass pull.

The company has also initiated hot cyanide leach test work to assess the recovery rates of palladium, platinum and gold in a cyanide leaching process, and will shortly commence shipment of 100 representative chip samples from historic drilling at the Esbarro deposit to Steinert’s facility in Minas Gerais, to evaluate the potential of sensor-based ore sorting test work.

ValOre’s Chairman and CEO, Jim Paterson, said: “The pace of success at Pedra Branca has increased dramatically in the last three months, including today’s release of PGE metallurgical recovery rates of in excess of 93% for palladium and 95% for platinum using the Platsol process.

“Together with an aggressive property-wide exploration program, we are now focused on rapidly optimising the conditions, procedures and processes to further maximise the upside potential of the Pedra Branca project.”

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.”

New innovations help Freeport Americas cut GHG emissions

Successful innovations in mining, processing and reporting saw Freeport-McMoRan’s Americas division significantly outperform greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets in 2019, the company has reported in its annual sustainability publication.

On an absolute basis, the division’s total GHG emissions for this part of the business remained stable at 4.8 Mt, which was 30% lower than the company’s “Business As Usual” projections, while, on an intensity basis, Americas’ performance improved significantly with carbon intensity per metric tonne of copper produced decreasing by 18% versus 2012 levels and coming in 30% lower than Business as Usual.

The company said, in 2019, the Americas division undertook a significant effort to analyse its GHG emissions in the Americas back to 2012.

This work enabled it to identify “levers” for change in the future and reaffirmed its approach to asset optimisation and processing innovation.

Over the last decade, the division, which includes assets such as Morenci and Cerro Verde, has developed and implemented industry leading technologies for leaching of oxide ores, implemented step change crushing technologies that reduce energy demand by over 30% per tonne of milled material and developed a new, highly efficient process for leaching sulphide concentrates that replaces traditional smelting and refining, it said.

“We also have implemented an asset management strategy where we rebuild engines, frames and truck beds, resulting in the reuse of approximately 70% of a typical haul truck,” it added.

The latter’s net result is over $1 billion in capital avoidance, and an estimated GHG emissions avoidance of 325 t of CO2 equivalent per truck, or more than 150,000 t in the last decade, the company said. This is based on the rebuild of 465 haul trucks that the company has carried out with Caterpillar dealer Empire Cat.

“In addition, the gradual decarbonisation of country-level energy grids, combined with specific power purchase contract terms for renewables, allows us to maintain our focus on lowering operating costs while reducing the amount of GHGs emitted per metric tonne of product,” Freeport said.

Between 2012-2016, ore grades at the company’s Americas operations decreased, requiring more ore to be both moved and processed to produce the same amount of copper. This resulted in emissions climbing during the period.

However, the company took the following actions which countered its increasing emissions trend.

In 2014-2016, it installed new highly efficient milling technology (high pressure grinding roll technology) at Morenci and at Cerro Verde, which enabled significant improvements in absolute emissions intensity as well as significant production gains at both sites, it said.

From 2014 through to 2019, the company also saw a significant decrease in the carbon intensity of its electricity consumption due to Peru and Arizona grid decarbonisation trends.

In 2018, meanwhile, advances in information allowed the company to switch to a “market-based approach” for a significant portion of its delivered electricity, enabling Freeport to reflect actual emissions versus estimates calculated using the standard published grid factors provided by regulators.

Looking forward, the company said it expected to achieve similar success as it did in the last decade at its Americas operations.

“We have set a corporate target to achieve an additional 15% reduction in carbon emissions per metric tonne of copper produced in the Americas by 2030, using a 2018 baseline,” it said.

“Over the next several years, the company will be focused on recovery from COVID-19 impacts by maintaining safe and financially viable operations as well as supporting the economic recovery of the communities where we operate.

“As business conditions allow, we will look for opportunities to invest in innovative mining and processing technologies as a means of working towards our 2030 emissions reduction goal, as well as to further develop our climate change strategy.”

In total, Freeport saw its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions (combined) drop from 10.1 Mt of GHG emissions in 2015 to just over 8 Mt in 2019, the report showed.

CAML’s Kounrad operation hits copper cathode milestone

Central Asia Metals Ltd (CAML) says, on April 18, the Kounrad copper recovery plant, in Kazakhstan, produced its 100,000th tonne of cathode – a significant milestone for an operation processing material previously deemed as ‘waste’.

CAML’s Kounrad copper resources are within the waste dumps formed during prior mining activities of the Kounrad deposit, which commenced in the 1930s.

The facility recovers copper from the Eastern and Western dumps that accumulated from open-pit mining operations from a period that started in 1936 and ended in 2005. Over time, oxides and low-grade sulphides of copper formed a significant tonnage deposited at the mine site.

Leached metal from the dumps finds its way to the solvent extraction and electrowinning processing plant via a series of storage ponds. At the plant, copper is produced with the final cathode product delivered from the Kounrad site by rail and sea to the end customers, predominantly in Turkey.

Since CAML’s leaching operations began in April 2012, Kounrad has produced 100,000 t of copper cathode at C1 cash costs averaging $0.55/Ib, or $1,212.54/t (2012-2019); has generated gross revenue of $601 million from copper sales (2012-2019); and has supported a Kazakh workforce comprising 323 employees and 86 contractors (2019).

Nigel Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone of producing 100,000 t of copper from Kounrad at costs that are amongst the lowest in the world. We owe a debt of gratitude to the on-site team led by General Director, Pavel Semenchenko, and guided by our Technical Director, Howard Nicholson.”