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IMPROVING CATHODE QUALITY AT HIGH CURRENT DENSITY AT SAN FRANCISCO EW PLANT

J. Flores; K. Muoz & G. Zrate

XIII Seminario Tcnico Cytec 2010

IMPROVING CATHODE QUALITY AT HIGH CURRENT DENSITY AT SAN FRANCISCO EW PLANT


Julio Flores: Cathodes Plants Superintendent Katherine Muoz: Chief Operations SX-EW Gabriel Zrate: Metallurgist Senior Corporative

Seminario Tcnico Cytec 2010

CONTENTS GENERAL INFORMATION SELE CATHODE QUALITY BACKGROUND NEW GUAR REAGENT TESTWORK RESULTS CONCLUSIONS

GENERAL INFORMATION
The plant produces about 37 Kton/year of cathode in San Francisco and around 10 Kton/year of cathode in Los Bronces EW Plant.

In addition, the unit is equipped with a copper sulphate pentahydrate equivalents to 3 Kton/year of fine copper.

ROM ore is dumped with grades below the cut-off grade for the concetrator: 0.15 0.75%Cu tot and 80% chalcopyrite (bioleaching process)
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SULPHATE PLANT

200 m3/h

COPPER SULPHATE

SELE (SELECTIVE ENHANCED EW)


Tecnologies developed by New Tech Copper Corporation San Francisco Plant is the first plant that has implemented this chilean tecnology innovation Kind of basket that is introduced in the electrolyte cell about EW process Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) structure Allows electrodes to maintain a fix position, avoiding short-circuits, that improves process efficiency and quality
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CATHODE QUALITY BACKGROUND


Current Density (A/m ), I (A) vs Period
500 450 Curr. Dens. (A/m )
2

65 60 55 50 45
| I (A)

400 350 300 250 200 150 100 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

40 35 30 25 20 15

Period I (A) Curr. Dens. Prod. (t) (A/m2)

2002 22,3 183 11,7

2003 36,1 296 16,8

2004 37,9 311 21,7

2005 44,3 363 27,1

2006 48,5 393 30,5

2007 51,4 406 34,1

2008 48,4 384 33,2

2009 54,2 430 36,6

2010 58,0 460 2,9 10

CATHODE QUALITY UP TO FEBRUARY 2010

Ao 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

%Off grade 19 27 28 53 60 80

Curr.Dens. (A/m2) 363 393 406 384 430 460

Higher %off grade is due to much higher cathode weight than required, specially at the highest current density Have an ambicious action plan Improve and implement best practices operational and housekeeping EW plant Cathode plant and Metallurgical Department, decided to test a new guar reagent (C) in order to improve cathode quality
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Parameters to Keep Quality Temperature of Washing Water to Cathodes [ C] Temperature of Washing Water Chamber to Cathodes [ C] Temperature Hot Water Tank [ C] Temperature Electrolyte Income Cell [ C] Poor Electrolyte Cu+2 [gpl] Poor Electrolyte H+ [gpl] pH of Washing Water Chamber to Cathodes Pressure of Washing Water Cathodes [Psi] Especific Flow Rate to Cells [m3/hr/m2] Weight Laminate to Harvest [Kg] Frecuency to Cleaning Same Cell [month] Dosification Guar Reagent [gr/t Cu fine] Dosification Cobalt Sulphate [ppm] Poor Electrolyte Cl [ppm] Poor Electrolyte Mn [ppm]

San Francisco Plant > 75 > 70 > 40 > 55 > 39 165 to 180 >6 > 80 > 0.2 33 to 37 max 12 > 90 % Curr.Density > 80 % Curr.Density 10 to 20 max 90
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COMPARISON DIFFERENTS REAGENTS


"A"
DESCRIPTION SOLVENT WATER VOLUMEN FOR 250 GR/TON SOLUBILITY DISSOLUTION T DISSOLUTION TIME HIDRATATION AGITATION

"B"

"C"
Low molecular weight carbohydrate, dextrin type, oligosaccharide group Water 4 m3 99% > 5C 0,5 hours Not required Mechanical or Neumatic
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Guar Galactomannon Polymer Guar Galactomannon Polymer Derivate Derivate Water 8m


3

Water 8m
3

95% > 25C 2 hours 12 hours Mechanical

85% > 25 12 hours 12 hours Mechanical

"A"
EFFECTOS ON SX OPERATIONALS PROBLEMS CATHODE DEPOSIT ESTRUCTURE CATHODES NODULATION CATHODE LOOK ACID MIST DPRESS CURRENT DENSITY MEASUREMENT METHOD None

"B"
None

"C"
None None Columnar None Bright 10%
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Low temperatures tend to form Easy form gel to blocks pumps gel and pipes Columnar Ocassional Opaque None < 400 A/m None
2

Non defined Frequent Opaque None < 350 A/m None

< 500 A/m Yes

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INDUSTRIAL TEST PROCEDURE (430 g/t)


First week (25%) Second week (50%) Third week (75%) Fourth week (100%) : 4 kg C + 11 kg A (per shift) : 7.5 kg C + 7.5 kg A (per shift) : 11 kg C + 4 kg A (per shift) : 15 kg C + 0 kg A (per shift)

Preparation tank

: C addes first with water at < 55 C, agitation

for 30 min and then Guar is added

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RESULTS
Main parameters were graphed between April and June 22nd of 2010

Cathode quality was evaluated using S content

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Current Density vs Period


450 430 (Amp/m )
2

410 390 370 350


Mar-10 Apr-10 May-10 May-10 Jun-10 Jul-10

Date

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Flow Electrolyte Feed Cells vs Period


2000 1900 1800 (m /h) 1700 1600 1500 1400 1300 Mar-10 Apr-10 May-10 Date May-10 Jun-10 Jul-10
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Copper in Electrolytes vs Period


60 55 50 gpl Cu
+2

45 40 35 30 25 20 Mar-10 Apr-10 May-10 Date May-10 Cu Poor Cu Rich Jun-10 Jul-10

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Temperatures in EW Plant vs Period


90 80 70 T C 60 50 40 30
Mar-10 Apr-10 May-10 May-10 Jun-10 Jul-10 TRich electrolyte to cells TWashing w ater

Date

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Average Content of Sulfur into Cathodes vs Period


45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Mar-10

S (ppm)

Apr-10

May-10 Date

May-10

Jun-10

Jul-10

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Cathode Quality Distribution vs Period


100 %Cathode grade (S ppm) 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Jan-10 Feb-10 Mar-10 Date %Special %Total Grade A %Off grade
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Apr-10

May-10

Jun-10

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Average week S content before the test was 6.9 and 22.4 ppm and 14 ppm as median.

After test, average S content was 2.9 and 9.3 ppm and 6.3 as median.

Tendence of S content into cathode is to get values < 5 ppm

According to the graphs, current density

and electrolyte flowrate

decreased after started test. They have opposite effects and overall effect is neutralized
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CONCLUSIONS
Highest current density in copper EW plant, increase off grade quality in cathodes and increase possibilty to have unsafe operation

Keeping operational and metallurgical parameters, ensurance good quality and safety operation

Necessary have a metallurgical senior external advisor

Decision to test a new guar reagent early this year (C), is a good complement for help to improve quality cathode, reducing S content
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In order to validate the results obtained, it has been recommended to continue with 100% addition of C to EW plant, and follow so close sulfur content and any effect that residual product may have on the SX plant

Necessary test differents tecnologies to operating high current density

improve cathode quality

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Thank you!

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