ROUNDUP 2001    A Dilemma for New     Producers of PGEConcentrates – DownstreamProcessing to Saleable Metals         John ...
Smelting & Refining   Producing PGE                                      Rich SulfideFinished PGE                         ...
Today’s SituationOligopoly of vertically integrated major mining,smelting & refining companiesRestricted access for new PG...
Integrated PGE Smelters and Refineries                                Principal                                 Purpose   ...
Smelter Terms      Charges & PenaltiesTypical concentrate contains Ni, Cu, Co,PGE’s, Au, AgMoisture content 10% +/- 2%Appr...
Smelter Terms           CreditsSmelter sets “accountable” metalrecoveries (%) or a minimum deductionCredits based upon ref...
Smelter Terms         Credits (cont.)Smelter price participation against baseprices of metals (usually LME)Final payments ...
Independent RefinersJohnson MattheyUnion Miniere Precious MetalsHeraeus Metal ProcessingSabin Metal CorpEngelhard Corporat...
The Dilemma  You have a PGE property that   appeared to be technically and    economically viable until thefeasibility stu...
Possible Solutions To TheDilemma for Large DepositsThe Stillwater Mining Company “model”• proven smelting & base metal ref...
The “Stillwater”            ModelCommenced production in 1987 at Nye,Montana and shipped concentrate toUM (~35K oz/yr PGE’...
The Stillwater Model (cont.)Added a BMR in 1996 and shipped highgrade PGE residue to JM and UM andcopper and nickel soluti...
Stillwater BMR & Smelter                   (1998 Photo)PGE’s in Flotation Concentrate Upgraded From 50 opt to 60%         ...
PGE Smelter     Process DescriptionElectric 5 mW Furnace (EF)• 100 tons concentrate per day  processing design capacity• R...
New Stillwater Electric Furnace
PGE SmelterProcess Description (cont.)Top Blown Rotary Converter (TBRC)•   Processing capacity equivalent to 50-    60 ton...
New Stillwater TBRC
PGE Smelter Process Description (cont.)Granulation/Regeneration• Water jets cool EF and TBRC matte• High efficiency scrubb...
Stillwater PGE Smelter
BMR      Process DescriptionGrinding – Batch Process• Tower mill grinds smelter matte to 85%  passing 200 meshAtmospheric ...
Stillwater Mining Company       Base Metals Refinery Atmospheric LeachPGE’s = 600 opt                                     ...
BMR Process Description (cont.)Pressure Leach • Autoclaves operate on a batch basis • Leaches nickel, copper and iron from...
BMR Process Description (cont.)The nickel/copper/cobalt sulfate solution• Nickel/cobalt crystallized and shipped  offsite•...
Stillwater Mining Company    Base Metals Refinery Pressure LeachPGE’s = 4%                                          PGE’s ...
The PlatSol ProcessPatented process by InternationalPGM Technologies Ltd.First pilot testing done in 2000 atLakefield Rese...
The PlatSol Process (cont.)Process uses an innovativecombination of concentrate pressureleaching followed by precipitation...
Lakefield Research Facilities    Lakefield, Ontario
Pilot PlantCrushing
Pilot PlantConcentration
Pilot Plant Pressure Leaching      & Metals Recovery
ConclusionsVery restricted access to PGE smeltersDeposits of +2.5 million ounces PGE’shave a chance of processing to finis...
The Goal!     A Technically Feasible &Economically Viable PGE  Operation
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A Dilemma for New Producers of PGE/Base Metal Flotation and Gravity Concentrates – Downstream Processing to Saleable Metals

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New producers of base metal/PGE/precious metal concentrates are faced with very unique challenges regarding downstream processing to saleable metals. The normally complex sulfide concentrate produced consists principally of nickel, copper, cobalt, PGE’s, gold and silver. The alternatives available for downstream processing to saleable metals are very few, and at this time the only standard commercial route is by way of conventional smelting (pyrometallurgy), hydrometallurgical/electrochemical refining to recover base metals, and then a complex chemical (leach and precipitate) refining process to recover PGE’s and precious metals from the base metal leach residue.

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A Dilemma for New Producers of PGE/Base Metal Flotation and Gravity Concentrates – Downstream Processing to Saleable Metals

  1. 1. ROUNDUP 2001 A Dilemma for New Producers of PGEConcentrates – DownstreamProcessing to Saleable Metals John A. Chapman J.A. Chapman Mining Services
  2. 2. Smelting & Refining Producing PGE Rich SulfideFinished PGE Concentrates Products
  3. 3. Today’s SituationOligopoly of vertically integrated major mining,smelting & refining companiesRestricted access for new PGE rich sulfideconcentrate producer(s) to smelting & refiningfacilities of majorsToll (custom) smelting and refining, ifnegotiated, is very expensiveWith very few facilities available concentratetransportation costs may be significant
  4. 4. Integrated PGE Smelters and Refineries Principal Purpose PGE Company Location of Smelter BMR Refinery Outokumpu Finland Nickel Norilsk Russia NickelAnglo Platinum South Africa PGEs Implats South Africa PGEs Lonmin South Africa PGEs Zimplats Zimbabwe PGEsUnion Miniere Belgium Cu-Pb Inco Sudbury Nickel Falconbridge Sudbury Nickel Stillwater Montana, USA PGEs
  5. 5. Smelter Terms Charges & PenaltiesTypical concentrate contains Ni, Cu, Co,PGE’s, Au, AgMoisture content 10% +/- 2%Approximate grade set on each payablemetal in concentrateMay be rejected due to deleteriouselements or off-specification moisture ormetals gradesTreatment charge on dmt basis of feed
  6. 6. Smelter Terms CreditsSmelter sets “accountable” metalrecoveries (%) or a minimum deductionCredits based upon refined“accountable” base, precious and PGEmetals with a deduction for refiningchargeSmelting and refining charges adjustedannually by various price indices
  7. 7. Smelter Terms Credits (cont.)Smelter price participation against baseprices of metals (usually LME)Final payments may be spread overconsiderable time periods for differentmetals
  8. 8. Independent RefinersJohnson MattheyUnion Miniere Precious MetalsHeraeus Metal ProcessingSabin Metal CorpEngelhard CorporationDegussa CorporationHandy & Harman Refining Group, Inc.See www.ipmi.org for complete list of Refiners
  9. 9. The Dilemma You have a PGE property that appeared to be technically and economically viable until thefeasibility study showed the X-Mine costs were so high that the project was rendered uneconomic (PROJECT NPV = NIL)
  10. 10. Possible Solutions To TheDilemma for Large DepositsThe Stillwater Mining Company “model”• proven smelting & base metal refining technology that is cost sensitive to concentrate grade and economy-of- scaleNew technology, “PlatSol”• high risk but with potential high reward
  11. 11. The “Stillwater” ModelCommenced production in 1987 at Nye,Montana and shipped concentrate toUM (~35K oz/yr PGE’s)Added a smelter in 1990 and shippedgranulated matte to UM (~250K oz/yrPGE’s)
  12. 12. The Stillwater Model (cont.)Added a BMR in 1996 and shipped highgrade PGE residue to JM and UM andcopper and nickel solutions to Sherritt(~300K oz/yr PGE’s)Expanded smelter and BMR in 2000, shipPGE residues to JM et al, and nowproduce cathode copper and nickel-cobaltcrystallization at site (~400K oz/yr PGE’sand increasing)
  13. 13. Stillwater BMR & Smelter (1998 Photo)PGE’s in Flotation Concentrate Upgraded From 50 opt to 60% Then Shipped to Off-Site PGE Refineries Byproducts Include Cathode Copper And Nickel/Cobalt Xtals
  14. 14. PGE Smelter Process DescriptionElectric 5 mW Furnace (EF)• 100 tons concentrate per day processing design capacity• Removes oxide materials (SiO2, FeO) from concentrate• Upgrades PGEs from 50 opt to 200 opt• Smelter PGE recovery is plus 99%
  15. 15. New Stillwater Electric Furnace
  16. 16. PGE SmelterProcess Description (cont.)Top Blown Rotary Converter (TBRC)• Processing capacity equivalent to 50- 60 tons concentrate/day• Removes iron (FeO) and sulfur (SO2) from EF matte• Upgrade PGEs from 200 opt to 600 opt
  17. 17. New Stillwater TBRC
  18. 18. PGE Smelter Process Description (cont.)Granulation/Regeneration• Water jets cool EF and TBRC matte• High efficiency scrubbing captures plus 99.5% SO2• Regeneration product is gypsum, used locally as a soil amendment• No discharge of process solutions
  19. 19. Stillwater PGE Smelter
  20. 20. BMR Process DescriptionGrinding – Batch Process• Tower mill grinds smelter matte to 85% passing 200 meshAtmospheric Leach• Leaches nickel, iron, cobalt and some copper• Precipitates out any PGEs from solution• Upgrades PGEs from 2% to 4%
  21. 21. Stillwater Mining Company Base Metals Refinery Atmospheric LeachPGE’s = 600 opt PGE’s = 4%
  22. 22. BMR Process Description (cont.)Pressure Leach • Autoclaves operate on a batch basis • Leaches nickel, copper and iron from the atmospheric leach residue • Upgrades the PGE’s from 4% to 60-65%Iron Removal • Precipitates iron (Goethite) from solution (recycled to smelter)
  23. 23. BMR Process Description (cont.)The nickel/copper/cobalt sulfate solution• Nickel/cobalt crystallized and shipped offsite• Copper electrowinning on sitePGE Residue Processing• Filtered and shipped offsite for refining
  24. 24. Stillwater Mining Company Base Metals Refinery Pressure LeachPGE’s = 4% PGE’s = 60%
  25. 25. The PlatSol ProcessPatented process by InternationalPGM Technologies Ltd.First pilot testing done in 2000 atLakefield Research in Ontario forPolyMet Mining Corporation on a bulksample from the NorthMet deposit
  26. 26. The PlatSol Process (cont.)Process uses an innovativecombination of concentrate pressureleaching followed by precipitation(gold & PGE’s), SX-EW (copper) andcrystallization (nickel & cobalt)
  27. 27. Lakefield Research Facilities Lakefield, Ontario
  28. 28. Pilot PlantCrushing
  29. 29. Pilot PlantConcentration
  30. 30. Pilot Plant Pressure Leaching & Metals Recovery
  31. 31. ConclusionsVery restricted access to PGE smeltersDeposits of +2.5 million ounces PGE’shave a chance of processing to finishedmetals at or near the mine-site, and couldyield a viable NPV for developmentSmaller deposits will have great difficulty inachieving a viable NPV for projectdevelopment because of the smeltersituation
  32. 32. The Goal! A Technically Feasible &Economically Viable PGE Operation

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