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MEI Online: Hydrometallurgy: Latest News: May 9th 2006


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:: Modular MeTRIX® Technology Demonstration Plant Commissioned

Bateman Engineering and Mintek have commissioned a modular demonstration plant under their collaborative agreement to develop and implement the MeTRIX® (MeTal Recovery Through Ion-eXchange) technology, commonly known as resin-in-pulp (RIP) for the metallurgical sector.

The plant will be used to demonstrate the potential of RIP technology for improving recoveries at various base-metal plants in southern and central Africa, with a particular application being the re-treatment of residues and waste streams. RIP is particularly suited for this role, since it is effective on low-grade streams (less than 5 g/l), and in the case of re-pulped residues, it lessens or eliminates the costly solid / liquid separation step required in competing technologies. A further important benefit is a reduction in the environmental consequences of the waste.

The skid-mounted MeTRIX®demonstration plant, designed and built by Bateman Engineering and Mintek, consists of four adsorption stages of 2m3 each and an elution circuit.

It has a design throughput of 170 l/min (10 m3/h). A novel resin concentration meter is used to monitor the resin concentration in each stage, and is linked to a PLC / Scada system that controls the resin inventory profile and the slurry and resin residence times.

The concept of modular, transportable process plants for mining and minerals processing was developed by Bateman Engineering nearly three decades ago, and has progressed steadily ever since, with new technology being continually added to the range of modules made available to clients. Most of these plants have been used for diamond recovery, but the range has been expanded to cover other mineral processing applications.

Mintek has been involved in the development of the RIP and associated resin-in-leach (RIL) technologies since the 1980s.

Originally envisaged as an alternative to carbon-in-pulp for gold recovery, RIP (using the Mintek-developed gold-selective strong-base resin) has found a niche application for recovering gold from carbonaceous preg-robbing ores, and is used in this role at the Barbrook mine in Mpumalanga and at Penjom in Malaysia. More recently, RIP development work has focused on base metals.

Successful laboratory and/or pilot-plant testwork has been carried out on copper, nickel and cobalt recovery from laterite leached pulp, and Activox® CCD underflows, copper from bioleach CCD underflows, zinc from zinc refining residues, and vanadium from waste streams.




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