All over the world, high-grade copper deposits are rare; low-grade ore bodies are common. Beneficiating these low-grade resources is expensive. Productive mines and concentrators cost billions of dollars to capitalize, and many years to develop.
Today, costs are increasing for both open-pit and underground operations. Existing mines must dig ever deeper. And the deeper the mine, the less pure the ore.
To compound this, copper mines are frequently in remote locations. That means getting the concentrate to custom or integrated smelters, often on roads or by rails that must be built; or by sea in vessels that must be carried to and loaded before they set off to the four corners of the world.
Still, copper mining has achieved a high degree of sustainability in developed countries, with industrializing countries following close behind. Modern practices and methods have been created that ensure environmental sensibilities are always top of mind. For the most part, copper mining has gone green.
Once the product is converted to cathode, global supply and demand dictates the market price for copper. All these issues combined with strict government regulations for operating permits demonstrate the challenges facing the copper industry today.
Electrowinning & electrorefining
Modern electrowinning and electrorefining refineries are needed to produce LME-grade cathode copper. We're experienced designers of these facilities, and have the technological solutions to minimize production costs.
Oxide copper leaching and modeling
We can customize heap-leaching designs, modeling of heaps, and process improvements to optimize copper recovery.
Today's smelting technologies must match the operational culture and optimize sustainability. We offer furnace technology that exceeds industry norms and operational expertise.
Electrometallurgy & solvent extraction
Our clients in both small and large-scale electrowinning and electrorefining facilities need to maximize productivity, cathode quality, and standards for safety. We help with them all. Our multidisciplinary electrometallurgy and solvent-extraction technology group has strong operating and design experience with systems such as these.
Process support services
We use process simulation software applications, such as Metsim® and SysCAD™, to provide detailed heat and mass balances for smelting, hydrometallurgy, and other chemical processes.