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MEI Online: Commodities: Metallic Ores: Copper: Conference Reports: ALTA 2005 Nickel/Cobalt & Copper Conference


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ALTA 2005 Nickel/Cobalt & Copper Conference
Perth, Western Australia, 16-20 May 2005

The conference was held at Scarborough Beach, Perth, Western Australia from May 16 to 20th 2005. It attracted keen industry interest and, with more than 220 delegates from over 20 countries, was one of the best attended ALTA conferences.

The Nickel/Cobalt Sessions included papers on all the major current laterite projects, namely BHP Billiton’s Ravensthorpe in Western Australia, Inco’s Goro and Falconbridge’s Koniambo projects in New Caledonia, CVRD’s Niquel do Vermelho project in Brazil and Weda Bay’s project on Halmahera Island in Indonesia. Other laterite projects under development were addressed including Dynatec’s Ambotovy project in Madagascar and Gladstone Pacific’s new project in Queensland. Other project highlights included a presentation on the Activox Low Pressure Oxidation demonstration plant at Tati Nickel in Botswansa, and decriptions of projects under development by Compass in the Northern Territory and Polymet in Minnesota. Technology topics included solvent extraction, ion exchange, precipitation using bioproduced hydrogen sulphide, as well as an electrorefining refining paper by major Russsian producer Norilsk. Reflecting the importance of equipment and materials of construction in nickel plants, the program included papers on paste thickening at Minara’s Murrin Murrrin Plant, new generation Geho high pressure pumps, autoclave design and the use of both titanium and non metallics.

The Copper Sessions included presentations on project developments by Erdenet in Mongolia and Baja Mining in Mexico. Technology papers included updates on the sulphide leaching processes being developed by CELS, Outokumpu, GeoBiotics, CAMMP and BioHeap. Other technology topics covered solvent extraction, electrowinning and electrorefining developments. A key feature of the copper program was the final day SX Fire Protection World Summit which included papers from international experts from engineering companies, systems and equipment suppliers, consultants and insurers. Phelps Dodge presented a paper on their SX fire experience at the Metcalf operation in the USA. A major theme was the likely impact of the recent SX plant fires on future SX plant design and operation. The Summit ended with an open panel discussion.

The proceedings from the Nickel/Cobalt and Copper Sessions will be made available shortly by ALTA (see web site www.altamet.com.au).

Alan Taylor, Principal, alta@altamet.com.au




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