JV to develop and commercialize new metal extraction technology
Placer Dome Inc. and Phelps Dodge Corp. have signed an agreement to further develop and commercialize proprietary technology for the hydrometallurgical extraction and recovery of gold, silver, copper and other co-products from precious and base metal concentrates.
In independent research programs, the companies have been developing proprietary technologies for the pressure leaching of precious and base metal sulphides. According to Marilyn Hames, vice-president technology for Placer Dome: “The technologies of Placer Dome and Phelps Dodge, when combined, can be applied to a range of different, complex sulphide concentrates that contain both precious metals and copper, under various situations and conditions. This agreement could lead to the development of lower cost processes for producing precious metals and copper at the mine site.”
Cobalt refinery to open
The construction and modification of the Canmine refinery in Cobalt, Ont., is on schedule for commissioning to begin in December 2001. It will create 32 permanent new jobs.
The refinery was purchased in 1999 by Canmine Resources Corp. of London, Ont. The $5.3-million modification project is being managed by AMEC. Three additions to the original refinery are completed, including an addition for feedstock storage and product finishing, a welding and maintenance shop, and space for additional process equipment.
The commissioning will flow into a ramp-up process in the first quarter of 2002. This will build toward a capacity of 300 tonnes of cobalt per year in chemicals, in the first year, with feed entirely from third parties. A second and third phase expansion is being contemplated, for production increases to between 1,000 and 2,000 tonnes of cobalt per year contained in value-added chemicals.
Canmine will join Inco Ltd., Falconbridge Ltd. and Sherritt International Corp. as the only cobalt refiners in Canada. It will be Canada’s only producer of value-added cobalt chemical compounds, supplying a market that shows a high growth profile.