3M, through its New Ventures Business, has invested in Lixivia, a Chilean company that 3M has been working with on an engineering process to increase recuperation of copper sulfurate above levels reached through standard industry applications. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“We believe that Lixivia’s innovative technology addresses core issues of mining companies today,” said Stefan Gabriel, president, 3M New Ventures. “This company has the potential to significantly increase miners’ diminished productivity and recover more copper sulfurate, which is a paradigm shift for miners’ operations.”
The newly developed technology consists of a catalyzing process that uses ferric nitrate dissolved in the lixiviation solutions as a reagent to increase copper recuperation. This process has demonstrated promising results on copper sulfurate, and maintains the chemical balance of iron dissolved in the complete process.
The patented technology was tested at 3M’s facility in Antofagasta. “This investment reflects 3M Chile’s interest in developing innovative solutions and supporting local entrepreneurship,” added Sebastian Arana, managing director, 3M Chile.
Next steps for the new process will be pilot tests during 2014, and by 2015 the new technology is expected to be ready for implementation in mining sites and possibly exported to copper mines in the U.S., Australia, Mexico, Peru and some countries in Africa.
“We consider 3M an important strategic partner known for its continued efforts in developing innovations and as a leader in technology,” said Alejandro Cartagena, executive director and founder of Lixivia.
Lixivia was founded by Alejandro Cartagena, Christian Hecker, Manuel Cartagena and Ernesto Beas, who are metallurgic civil engineers with vast experience in mineral processes and hydrometallurgy.
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