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MEI Online: Commodities: Metallic Ores: Copper: Conference Reports: ALTA 2007


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ALTA 2007 - Nickel/Cobalt, Copper & Uranium Conference
Perth, Australia
May 19-26 2007

This conference attracted keen industry interest and, with close to 300 delegates from around the globe, was one of the best ever attended ALTA conferences. The conference was officially opened by Richard Matheson, Australasian Director of the Nickel Institute, who discussed trends in the nickel industry including the likely effects of environmental/health regulations. The Key Note address at the Nickel-Cobalt Dinner was given by Ken Hellsten, who played key management roles in the development of the Cawse and Ravensthorpe Laterite PAL Projects.

The Nickel/Cobalt Sessions included papers on laterite and sulphide projects, separation and purification, pressure leaching equipment design, materials of construction, ammonium sulphate crystallization, risk management and a review of nickel processing technology.

Featured projects included the Hard Creek Nickelís Turnagain Sulphide Project in B.C. Canada, Polymetís Northmet Project in Minnesota, the Talvivaara Bioheapleaching Project in Finland and Pacific Nickelís Gladstone Laterite Project in Queensland Australia. The Atmospheric Leaching of Laterites Forum included papers on the new Skye Resources process, the Jump-Up Heap Leaching Project in Western Australia, downstream processing and comminution and ore transport.

Features of the Copper Sessions were presentations on the new GalvinoxTM leaching process for copper sulphides, CESLís new gold recovery process, Mintekís heap bioleaching technology for low grade chalcopyrite ore, the use of split circuit SX and understanding SX reagent consumption. Other topics included crud treatment, tankhouse bleed treatment, pressure oxidation equipment design and materials of construction. The SX Contactors Forum included papers on the Bateman, Outokumpu and Lighnin designs, multi-phase CFD and modelling, contactors of the future and a review of past and present contactor designs.

Topics in the uranium sessions included innovations and trends in ore treatment, SX and IX, acid mine drainage and the use of prompt fission neutron technology in exploration. A feature was a presentation on the development of Arafuraís Nolans Project in the N.T. Australia. The In-situ Leaching Forum featured an overview of global technologies and innovation, testwork studies, and the Beverley Operation in South Australia.

The special forums in each of the three sessions concluded with wide ranging open panel discussions, which were a highlight of the conference. A post conference short course on Uranium Ore Treatment was presented by Alan Taylor of ALTA. The conference proceedings are now available from ALTA Metallurgical Services (see web site www.altamet.com.au). ALTA is now planning and receiving abstracts for the ALTA 2008 Nickel-Cobalt, Copper and Uranium Conference to be held in Perth, Western Australia in May 2008 (contact alantaylor@altamet.com.au).

Alan Taylor, Managing Director




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