TECH TRAK CESL’s hydromet process is set to meet its moment of truth

Nov 01, 2007 | 11:00 AM |

A revolutionary hydrometallic process developed by Cominco Engineering Services Ltd. (CESL) for processing copper concentrate is on the cusp of being commercialized by Cia. Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD), which is poised to start up the first commercial-scale plant using the technology before the end of this year.

CVRD's $100-million Usinas Hidro Carajas plant in the Carajas region of Brazil will soon begin refining copper concentrate from its Sossego Mine, with production forecast to reach 10,000 tonnes of copper cathode per year. CESL, a Vancouver, British Columbia, subsidiary of Teck Cominco Metals Ltd., is providing process design, engineering input and startup support, said David Jones, chief metallurgist for Teck Cominco Technology.

CVRD also has plans for a much larger plant with a capacity of between 200,000 and 250,000 tonnes of copper cathode per year that will use the CESL approach to process concentrates from two new mines Salobo and Alemao.

The CESL process is said to offer a myriad of advantages, ranging from an enhanced environmental profile to the ability to treat classes of concentrates not suitable for traditional smelter refining.....

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