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The BOLEO Copper Project

September 2002
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BOLEO Copper Deposit


Located in Baja California, Mexico Ore is complex, fine grained oxide, sulphide and mixed oxide / sulphide containing 40% clay Treatment is complex
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Project History
1997
Project optioned by International Curator Resources Fluor Daniel Wright conducted feasibility study based on extensive testwork by Lakefield, CMRI, Pocock and others Complex process with high capital and operating costs Project put on hold
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Fluor 97 Base Case


Boleo Ore Ore Preparation - SAG Mill Rejects Wash Water Filtration and Washing Filtrate to Leach

H2SO4

Oxidation Leach

Air

Concentrate Roasting

SO2 to Leach

H2SO4 + SO2 + S

Reduction Leach

H2SO4 + Water

Calcine Leaching

High Acid Consuming Ore

Neutralization

Copper SX/EW

Copper Cathode

H2S

In-Pulp Sulfide Precipitation

NaOH

Zinc SX/EW

Zinc Cathode

Floatation Reagents

Bulk Sulfide Flotation

Floatation Tails to Disposal

NaOH Cobalt SX/EW

Cobalt Cathode

Waste Solution to Disposal

Project History
2001 - 2002
Project returned by Mintec International Corporation Bateman asked to review 1997 study and develop a simpler, conventional, process Conducted scoping study for simpler, less expensive process, based on previous test reports Proposal for full feasibility study with additional testwork
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Geology and Mineralogy


Boleos Cu-Co-Zn mineralisation occurs in mantos with gradation in mineral type and metal grade from a distinct (barren conglomerate) footwall overlain directly by high grade ore to a less distinct gradational hanging wall.

Mineralogy (Continued)
1955 US Geological Survey study of the Boleo deposit provides an overview of the complex and highly variable mineralogy of the manto structures. Notable features include;

Mineralogy (Continued)
High clay content (up to 60%); Saline in-situ water content of 20-25%; Large variety of oxide mineralization, including simple oxides, carbonates, oxychlorides, silicates and mixed (ferrite) oxides; Sulfides, when present, of extremely fine grain size.
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Process Implications
Solid Liquid Separations will be Challenging due to Clayey Oretypes Process in Seawater (high chloride) due to Salinity of Natural Ore Must Use a Variety of Chemistries to Dissolve all Metal (Cu/Co/Zn) Minerals

Design Objectives
Keep it Simple Inexpensive Use proven process steps Maximum use of previous testwork data

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Design Basis
Annual ore throughput Average ore grade Cu (oxide and sulfide) Co (oxide and sulfide) Zn (oxide and sulfide) MnO2 Copper production Cobalt production Zinc production 1.36 % 0.089 % 0.62 % 5.54 % 47,000 t/a 2,750 t/a 20,000 t/a
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4,025,000 t/a 11,500 t/d

Testwork Review
Extensive testing done on all unit operations for previous study Some results appeared to have been overlooked (thickening) and have been revisited Conclusion
Testwork data would form good basis for development of new process
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Process Options Review


Seven process options considered and assessed according to
Technical viability (proven vs. novel) Perceived capital and operating costs Operability

One option chosen as base case for scoping study


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Major Process Changes


Removal of sulphide flotation and roasting operations Addition of CCD circuit for solid-liquid separation to allow base metal recovery from SOLUTION, NOT SLURRY Based on high rate thickening test results from previous work
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Thickening Testwork Review


Tests done by Pocock Industrial Inc on leach residues Initial tests indicated settling rates of up to 2 m2/t/day. These high figures preclude efficient use of CCD circuit hence flotation-roasting option considered previously. Two high-rate thickening tests at end of test campaign showed settling rates of 0.1 m2/t/day. These results appear to have been overlooked in previous study. Results reviewed by Bateman and Delkor Decision taken to proceed on basis that high-rate thickening test results are indicative of full-scale operation. Follows Bateman experience on similar clayey ores (eg. Bulong)
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Process - Basic
Acid SO2 Water MILL OXIDISING LEACH REDUCING LEACH CCD Tailings

Leach Residue

H2S

Oxygen

SULPHIDE LEACH

SULPHIDE PRECIP

Cu SX / EW

Tailings Zn SX / EW Co SX / EW

Copper

Zinc

Cobalt

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Process - Detail
NEUT
Ore Limestone Acid

OX LEACH

Zinc Cathode

Zn EW

Zn SX 1

Zn SX 2

NaOH

NaOH

SO2

RED LEACH

Cu / Cd CEMENT

Zn Dust

Co SX

Cu / Zn IX

HAC Air

Limestone

NEUT 1

Fe REMOVAL

Air

Co EW

Water

CCD

Cu SX

NEUT 3

SULPHIDE PRECIP

SULPHIDE LEACH

Cobalt Cathode

HAC Lime Air

HAC

H2S

O2

NEUT 2

Cu EW

Copper Cathode

Decant

TAILINGS

Tailings

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Process
Crushing & Milling

Primary jaw crusher Scrubber for clay removal Single stage ball mill for scrubber oversize Cyclone classification 40% w/w solids @ P80 = 200 m

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Process
Leaching

Two stage leach maximises recoveries Oxidising leach


Majority of copper and some zinc leached High acid consumption due to gangue

Reducing leach
Metal values associated with manganese dioxide (mainly cobalt) leached Reducing conditions maintained with SO2
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Leach Chemistry
Oxidizing Leach Using Natural MnO2 in ore
MS + MnO2 + 2H2SO4 = MSO4 + MnSO4 + 2H2O + S where M = Cu, Co, Zn

Reducing Leach Using Sulfur Dioxide Addition


MnO2 + SO2 = MnSO4 cobalt in Mn-Oxide is leached
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Ore Characterization Tests (From Fluor Study)


Bed Number 2 3AA 3A 3 No. of Intervals 27 9 78 147 Sulfide (%) 0.09 0.28 0.82 0.24 Carbonate (%) 7.06 2.15 4.49 3.40 Net MnO2 (%) 9.8 8.1 7.9 5.9
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Process
Leaching

Overall Leach recoveries


Copper Cobalt Zinc Manganese 91% 87% 73% 97%

Acid consumption SO2 consumption

~180 kg/t ore ~ 25 kg/t ore


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Process
Stage 1 Neutralisation

Partial neutralisation with high acid consuming ore (HAC) Product solution is amenable to Cu SX/EW Two functions:
Raise pH after leaching Oxidise Cu1+ to Cu2+ (air sparging)
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Neutralization Chemistry
High Acid Consuming Ore is Available at Site and Contains Ca/Mg Carbonates H2SO4 + CaCO3 CaSO4 + H2O + CO2 H2SO4 + MgCO3 MgSO4 + H2O + CO2

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Process
CCD

Six large thickeners Washing with discharge solution from sulphide precipitation (free of copper, cobalt and zinc), plus sea water makeup 97% washing efficiency

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Process
Stage 2 Neutralisation

Tailings neutralisation with HAC and lime Neutralisation to pH 5 to 6 for soluble metal precipitation Manganese not precipitated contained in soluble form in tailings dam

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Process
Copper SX from Partially Neutralized Leach Solution Extraction with LIX984N @ 15% v/v Extraction
2 mixer settlers 98% extraction

Scrubbing
1 mixer settler Removal of entrained manganese and chloride

Stripping
2 mixer settlers Stripping with EW spent electrolyte
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Process
Copper EW

Electrowinning under standard conditions LME Grade A copper produced

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Process
Stage 3 Neutralization

Neutralization with HAC Two functions:


Neutralize acid generated in copper SX Precipitate residual iron prior to sulphide precipitation

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Process
Sulphide Precipitation

Acts as primary purification step for zinc and cobalt Zinc, cobalt and residual copper precipitated with H2S gas Iron, manganese, magnesium, aluminium and calcium remain in solution (recycled to CCD in wash)
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Process
Sulphide Leach

Precipitated sulphides dissolved at high efficiency in oxidising pressure leach @ 150C Sulphur oxidation controlled to produce some elemental sulphur (assists with overall sulphur balance) Acid provided in recycle from primary zinc SX
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Process
Solution Purification Zinc / cobalt solution purified in two stages Stage 1
Iron removal by precipitation using limestone and air Some copper removed

Stage 2
Cadmium removal with zinc dust Residual copper removed

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Process
Zinc SX Extraction with D2EHPA @ 40% v/v 2 stage extraction with intermediate neutralisation Primary extraction
1 Bateman Pulsed Column No pH control 60% extraction Raffinate split
75% to sulphide leach 25% to neutralisation
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Process
Zinc SX Intermediate neutralisation
pH raised using limestone Residue recycled to oxidising leach

Secondary extraction
1 Bateman Pulsed Column pH control using sodium hydroxide 99.5% extraction Loaded organic to primary extraction

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Process
Zinc SX Scrubbing
3 mixer settlers Physical removal of entrained impurities as well as chemical scrubbing of calcium

Stripping
1 Bateman Pulsed Column Stripping with EW spent elecrolyte

Regeneration
1 mixer settler Iron removal from bleed using 6M HCl
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Process
Zinc EW

Electrowinning under standard conditions SHG zinc produced

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Process
Cobalt SX Extraction with Cyanex 272 @ 25% v/v Extraction
1 Bateman Pulsed Column pH control using sodium hydroxide 99.95% extraction

Scrubbing
2 mixer settlers Primarily for nickel removal

Stripping
1 Bateman Pulsed Column Strip solution dependant on cobalt product
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Process
Cobalt Purification - IX

Residual copper, zinc and others removed from cobalt electrolyte by ion exchange IX columns in lead-lag configuration for maximum efficiency

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Process
Cobalt EW

Electrowinning under standard conditions in undivided cells Alternative for cobalt sulphide production also considered

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Process
Reagents Elemental sulphur imported for production of
H2SO4 (produced in acid plant) SO2 (produced in acid plant sulphur burner) H2S (produced from molten sulpur and hydrogen from Naphta reformer) Acid plant generates 31 MW net power

Limestone milled on site All other reagents used as supplied


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Major Reagent Consumptions


Consumption t/a Sulphuric Acid* Sulphur Dioxide* Hydrogen Sulphide Flocculant Sodium Hydroxide SX Organic Reagents 764,400 87,400 14,000 760 7,800 Cost US$ 7,000,000 1,224,000 882,000 2,038,000 1,948,000 386,000
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Metsim Modelling
General Metsim model set up to calculate
Flows and compositions of major streams, including recycles Major reagent consumptions Heating and cooling requirements

Steady-state simulation using simple unit operations used to simulate more complex real-life operations Testwork data and information from previous studies used where possible
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Metsim Modelling
Mass Balance Calculations High level of accuracy 73 components considered in 4 phases
42 inorganic solid 16 inorganic aqueous 8 organic aqueous 7 gaseous

Major elements include Cu, Co, Zn, Ni, Fe, Mn, Mg, Na, S, Ca, Si, Cl

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Metsim Modelling
Energy Balance Calculations Lower level of accuracy All stream temperature calculations done by Metsim using thermo data from Metsim database and other sources Heat loss from equipment not simulated Heat exchangers simulated using steam or cooling water no solution interchange simulated due to model stability
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Metsim Modelling
Feed Mineralogy Not readily available from previous work Mineralogy developed based on
Previous test results Recent sample analyses

Oxide / sulphide split difficult to determine with any accuracy Mineralogy adjusted to produce acid and SO2 consumptions consistent with test results
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Metsim Modelling
Feed Mineralogy
% Cu2S CuO CoS CoO ZnS ZnO NiO 0.41 1.28 0.026 0.08 0.33 0.56 0.02
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% FeOOH MnO2 CaCO3 MgCO3 MgSO4 SiO2 9.23 5.54 4.00 5.77 0.35 Balance

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Metsim Modelling
Results Model results compare well with available test data and general plant operating data Excellent tracking of impurities and water balance issues Energy balance results suitable for sizing of heat exchangers Metsim model an invaluable tool for accurate plant design Model can be easily and quickly adapted for more detailed design during feasibility study
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Capital Costs
Direct Field Costs (US$)
Vendor Supply and Install Packages Mechanical Equipment Site Development / Earthworks Concrete Structures Pipework Electrical Instrumentation Infrastructure Transport TOTAL DIRECT FIELD COSTS 56,495,000 53,681,000 6,134,000 18,748,000 13,430,000 17,885,000 14,639,000 5,862,000 8,296,000 7,269,000 202,439,000
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Operating Costs
US$/a Labour Maintenance Consumables Power TOTAL OPERATING COST 4,559,194 2,558,652 17,715,687 7,086,347 28,964,551 US$/t 1.14 0.64 4.40 1.76 7.96

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Summary and Conclusions


Boleo ores can be settled in High Rate Thickeners Conventional CCD will work Cu, Co and Zn recovered from solution as high quality, saleable products

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Example Projects - Bateman

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Mt Gordon

Insert picture of Mt Gordon Expansion Project

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Gunpowder Autoclave

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Bulong Nickel Plant

Ore Preparation

Pressure Leach

CCD

SX Electrowinning

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Kasese Cobalt

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Olympic Dam Expansion

Modularisation at Port Augusta

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