OZ Minerals has completed a jointly-funded $18 million study with Orway Mineral Consultants into a new process to improve copper quality of its Carrapateena copper assets. The research was conducted by Adelaide University.
According to the announcement, the first trial results from the Hydromet demonstration plant indicate that the process is scalable and is already returning copperin-concentrate levels of more than 55 per cent.
“This is a great set of first results for OZ Minerals and the copper industry in South Australia,” said Andrew Cole, CEO and Managing Director.
“The successful completion of this demonstration trial will allow us to produce some of the best and cleanest copper concentrate in the world with virtually no impurities.”
The encouraging results are a strong indication that the copper industry in South Australia has the potential to be home to some of the world’s best and cleanest concentrate.
“On the back of these promising results, we will continue to feed samples of concentrate through the plant over the next few months to build on our technical understanding and confidence in the process,” Mr Cole said.
The State Government of South Australia has pledged A$10 million to fund the joint study of the Hyrdromet process.
Mineral Resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis congratulated OZ Minerals on the first results of the study, stating that they “have the potential to push South Australian prospects up to the front of the queue”.
“These earlier results from the OZ Minerals and Adelaide University study are extremely exciting news for South Australia and our copper industry. They show a process capable of increasing the copper-in-concentrate to more than 50% compared to the globally achieved average of between 25%-30% can be scaled up,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“This is crucial research that could help maximise the value of South Australia’s copper resources for generations to come. When considered in the context of the South Australian Copper Strategy, it is a very exciting time for the industry,” Mr Cole said.