Success Story 2

Copper Operation

South America

Max-Emitter conversion increases copper extraction 18% and electrowinning tank house at 100% capacity for the first time in years.

After successfully using Ore-Max drip emitters for years, the mine purchasing department decided to "save money" by purchasing less expensive agricultural emitters. Immediately after the conversion, copper extraction on the heap dropped from the mid-80's to the low 70's, approximately 13-percentage points or 18%. The first explanation given was that the ore had changed - it was not the same and 80% extraction was not possible.

After operating for more than one-year with poor leach results - and a tankhouse that was not at 100% capacity, management decided to test six different types of drip emitters, including the Max-Emitter to see if they could improve copper extraction on the heap. Each of the six types of emitters were put on a complete cell and the differences were immediately evident. What was noticed was the difference in flow across the cell from emitter to emitter.

The metallurgical crew went out and set up an elaborate sampling system across each test cell, all were sampled with the same consistency and they reported that the Max-Emitter had the most consistent solution distribution across the cell, with less than + or - 0.5-liters per hour per square meter variation in flow. Surprisingly, the next closest emitter tested had + or - 2.0-liters per hour per square meter variation in flow.

Based on the improved solution distribution, the mine decided on the Ore-Max Max-Emitter and after conversion, copper extraction went to the mid to upper 80's, more than an 18% increase in copper extraction and the electrowinning tankhouse was at 100% capacity for the first time in years.


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