Start beneficiating oxide ore alongside sulfide ore
In the mining industry, beneficiation increases the value of the ore by removing the gangue minerals,
i.e. the worthless material mixed in with the desired substance. In 2018, Comika was already beneficiating sulfide ore and moving into oxide ore. Unlike sulfide ore, the beneficiation of oxide ore involves acid leaching, where the copper is liberated by the addition of sulfuric acid.
The liquor, commonly known as PLS (pregnant leach solution), is an acidic, metal-laden liquid that needs to be clarified – or beneficiated – to separate the leached copper. A thickener, or multiple thickeners in a train, dewater this PLS. Norinco was looking for the most cost-effective thickener solution incorporating the latest separation technology and knew that it had to include counter-current decantation (CCD). As the name implies, CCD works by sending water in the opposite direction to the solids – a simple and effective way of using the laws of physics to optimize performance.