Codelco studies new autoclave plant to treat high-Arsenic Copper concentrates

Codelco could have a new plant for treating high-arsenic copper concentrates ramping up by 2019, as it seeks to meet its customers’ needs and Chile’s increasingly strict environmental requirements.

The world’s largest copper producer has put its subsidiary EcoMetales in charge of feasibility studies for the construction of a $370-million plant in Calama, in the northern Chile. That is where Codelco produces most of its copper. Given the depletion of its ageing mines, the exploration of areas of lower ore grades have been resulting in dirtier concentrates. That presents a challenge to miners, especially as main customers in China cannot import copper concentrates containing more than 0.5% arsenic level. To tackle that, Codelco’s new plant in study would use autoclave technology for processing about 200,000…


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