For a long time, the leaching process using sulphuric acid (H2SO4) for obtaining high purity copper cathodes was focused on treating of copper oxide ore through heap leaching process and the subsequent solvent extraction (SX) and Electrowinning (EW) plants.
However, by reducing the oxide copper ore resources and their ore grade, and because of the sulfuric acid production deficit which currently prevents further tons of copper annually processing, it becomes difficult to maintain the forecasted production levels.
As a way to reduce this deficit and maintain the expected production levels of cathode copper, Lixivia SpA offers a technology that enables
leaching mixed ores and/or sulfide ores with its alternative technology process, so that our customers may use the treatment capacity installed in their own SX/EW plants through leaching of copper sulfide ores unaffected by an increased H2SO4 requirement.
With regard to investment (CAPEX), processing copper sulfide ores through hydrometallurgical process reaches values that are 2-3 times lower compared to the processes via concentration (excluding capital investment in smelting and refining), demands less energy and water usage and also responds better to the current environmental standards, which include the approval of authorities and the surrounding communities.