Iran has the world’s 9th largest reserves of copper ore originating from South East of Iran and extending toward Azerbaijan province at North West of the country. Due to rich mine deposits and growing world market demand, copper has turned into a highlighted mineral product in Iran. Aramico has the best solutions for such minerals and the relevant production plants on EPC basis.
Regardless of large size mines, there are many medium and small size mines as an advantage in the country. As a specific solution for these mines, ARAMICO has designed and manufactured some industrial portable copper production plants of hydrometallurgical process. These plants have the capability for quick mobilization and demobilization. A pilot plant has been likewise designed and manufactured at R&D department of ARAMICO to ensure and tune the commercial scale of plants. This plant utilizes oxide copper ore of different mines mines as raw material and produces cathode copper of 99.8 percent purity. Technical staffs of ARAMICO are professional for the following services:
- Design, manufacture, construction and commissioning of preprocessing units
- Design and manufacture of leaching units including heap leaching, vat leaching and agitation leaching units
- Design and manufacture of solvent extraction units including mixer settler and columnar units
- Design and manufacture of electro winning units
Sulphide copper ore can be sold and even exported just as 25 to 30 percent enriched concentrate, but the only way to take advantage of oxide resources is to process the ore and extract copper or copper sulphate powder because otherwise the transportation expenses will prevail due to low concentration of metal in the ore. Hydrometallurgical process has many advantages including high selectivity in extraction of metal which is suitable for low copper content ores. They are also used to produce copper from mediate and/or tailing products.
Main units in a hydrometallurgical copper production plant are as follow:
- Preprocessing operations (crushing, screening, grinding and …)
- Solvent extraction
- Electro winning
The following process flow diagram shows the copper production plant schematically. At leaching unit copper is extracted from its ore using an aqueous solution (dilute acid). At next step the aqueous solution is contacted with an organic solvent to provide a more concentrated organic copper solution which excludes the prior impurities. Since the copper ion is exchanged with hydrogen ion, the dilute acid solution is regenerated and is again fed to the leaching unit. organic solution is contacted with concentrated acid to transfer the copper to the aqueous solution for further processing at electro winning unit and the organic solvent is regenerated. At electro wining unit, high purity copper is electroplated on cathode.