Copper Electrowinning: 2018 Global Survey of Tankhouse Operating Practice and Performance

Additonal authors: Moats, M. S.. Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:

Proceedings, Vol. Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019, 2019

Sole, K. C.

Global practice in hydrometallurgical production of copper cathode by electrowinning is reviewed, based on individual plant operating data for 2018. Data from 29 plants were collected, representing 38% of world cathode copper production. Similar surveys were carried out in 1997, 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2013. This survey includes analysis of historical and current data. Evolving trends in operating conditions and performance, as well as equipment design and process technology choices, are analysed and differences in operating practices with location are assessed. Examples of recent technology and operational choices to increase productivity, improve copper quality, and decrease electrical energy consumption are discussed. Significant project expansions, particularly in Africa, and the consolidation of numerous small Chinese operations are also presented. INTRODUCTION Global trends and operating practices in copper electrowinning (EW) in 2018 are reviewed and evaluated. Similar world and African surveys were carried out in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, and 2013 (Robinson, Davenport, & Jenkins, 1997; Jenkins, Davenport, Kennedy, & Robinson, 1999; Davenport, Jenkins, Robinson, & Karcas, 2001; Robinson, Garbutt, & Davenport, 2002; Robinson, Davenport, Jenkins, King, & Rasmussen, 2003; Robinson, Davenport, Moats, Karcas, & Demetrio, 2007; Robinson, Sole, Sandoval, Moats, Siegmund, & Davenport, 2013). Contributing operations included sites from the USA and Mexico (9), Chile and Peru (6), Laos (1), Kazakhstan (1), and Africa (9). Despite fewer contributions compared with past experience, this survey nevertheless represents 2018 copper EW cathode production of 1.76 Mt, or about 38% of world production of 4.64 Mt (International Copper Study Group, 2017). This drop in permission to contribute is attributed to the more competitive nature of the industry and unprecedented production pressures; furthermore, several operations in Australia have shut down, while large operations that are currently commissioning or ramping up to full production in Africa and Asia declined to participate. Of the Chinese operations, which represent an increasingly important proportion of global electrowon cathode copper, particularly in Africa, only Tenke Fungurume (Democratic Republic of Congo; DRC) participated in this survey.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019