Study shows that copper extraction using sea water yield similar results as with fresh water

The study seeking to understand how using sea water as opposed to fresh water would affect the mining industry is one of the 44 presentations included in the Hydroprocess 2013 technical program. 

July 09 2013

Water scarcity is one of the main concerns in the mining industry. The results from the preliminary study entitled “Copper extraction from oxide ore using sea water” is therefore more relevant than ever, indicating that copper extraction using sea water obtain 70-80% of extractions using fresh water.

This presentation is one of the 44 included in the technical program of the 5th International Seminar on Process Hydrometallurgy, Hydroprocess 2013, to take place from July 10-12 at the Sheraton Hotel in Santiago, Chile. 

The aim of the project, conducted by a team of professionals from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Universidad de Antofagasta, Chile, and the Australian Mineral Research Centre was to understand the effects of sea water on the mechanisms that regulate mineral leaching or copper dissolution. 

So far sea water has been used in different copper processes. However, and according to the authors, there is little public information about the consequences of replacing fresh water with sea water.

The seminar expects to draw more than 300 professionals and will include a panel discussion entitled “Transport and use of sea water in hydrometallurgical plants” with recognized experts in the field.

Hydroprocess 2013 is presided by Gabriel Meruane, R&D Project Manager at SQM. Six plenary presentations will also be given as well as two specialization courses by renowned experts.