BASF and hydroGeophysics Consulting (HGI) created a strategic partnership that will enhance secondary copper recovery through novel mining technologies. BASF’s chemical LixTRA leaching aid combined with HGI’s geophysical deep well injection technologies will together unlock trapped copper and increase copper extraction rates.
The heap leach process, which involves piling low-grade ores onto a liner and dripping a lixiviant (usually acid) over the heap to dissolve copper into solution, offers a cost-effective method for copper extraction. However, the non-uniformity of heaps often leads to areas of ore compaction and poor lixiviant permeation, resulting in suboptimal metal recovery.
HGI employs state-of-the-art geophysical technologies to characterize the structural components of the heaps, enabling the design, operation, and monitoring of targeted lixiviant injection wells. By adding BASF’s LixTRA leach aid, greater ore-lixiviant contact is made, which ultimately leads to higher copper dissolution and increased metal recovery.
Initial results from a customer’s site have demonstrated a 20% increase in copper recovery during the trial period, prompting further testing on a larger scale to quantify the benefits.
“Technological advancements are essential if the industry is to meet the projected copper demand going forward. Using HGI’s expertise to identify areas of poor heap leach performance and then targeting these areas through deep well technology and BASF’s LixTRA reagent is a great example of how partnerships can drive sustainable process improvements in the mining industry,” says Caren Hoffman, VP mining solutions at BASF.
Brian Cubbage, EVP operations at HGI, added, “Enhancing copper recovery is a sustainable and safe manner is the main focus for most of the mines HGI works with. Leveraging HGI’s expertise in locating and enhancing copper recovery in underperforming areas in heap leach pads, with applying BASF’s LixTRA reagent through our injection programs, has provided a significant boost in the efficiency of copper recovery.”
Further information is posted on www.Mining-Solutions.BASF.com.