Copper Recovery Using Leach/Solvent Extraction/Electrowinning Technology: Forty Years Of Innovation, 2.2 Million Tonnes Of Copper Annually
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 2002
The concept of selectively extracting copper from a low-grade dump leach solution followed by stripping the copper into an acid solution from which electrowon copper cathodes could be produced occurred to the Minerals Group of General Mills in the early 1960s.This simple, elegant idea has resulted in a technology by which about 2.2 million tonnes of high quality copper cathode was produced in year 2000. The growth of this technology is traced overtime with a discussion of the key plants, the key people and the important advances in leaching, plant design, reagents and electrowinning that have contributed to the growth of this technology. Some thoughts on potential further advances in the technology are also given.