emew Blog

[VIDEO] emew Advanced Copper Liberators

Posted by Sonny Samra on Mar 28, 2017 12:33:53 PM
Thanks for joining me today for this discussion on emew advanced liberators. Let's start by looking at a simplified copper refining process flow diagram. Copper Concentrate is fed to the smelting process where fire-refined copper is produced. Next onto anode casting, where 99% anode copper is formed followed by electrorefining of copper to produce LME grade copper cathode. But we aren’t done there, the refinery bleed is then sent to copper liberators to control the copper concentration and impurities in the process. It is at this step, where we will focus our time today.

As mentioned, conventional Liberator cells are used to control the copper concentration and impurities in the process. However, there are many issues associated with conventional liberators:

  • They are often plagued with low current efficiency.
  • They produce an impure cathode, which results in internal recycles and increased working capital, both reducing profitability.
  • There are health and safety concerns from the acid mist and arsine generation.
  • As well as, the formation of liberator sludge which collects at the bottom of liberator and is challenging to remove.  
Now let's look at the differences between conventional liberators and emew advanced liberators. As the diagram indicates, both have the same input bleed electrolyte, but with emew advanced liberators - only LME grade Copper Cathode is produced with the output of spent electrolyte. No acid mist, arsine, spent anodes or copper sludge produced.
And what does this mean for refineries?
  • Decreased operating costs and working capital.
  • Lower expenditures on maintenance and labour requirements.
  • Better impurity control.
  • Increased profitability from saleable LME grade Copper cathode production.

Copper Liberators

And yet there are more added benefits of using emew Advanced Liberators:
  • Vastly improved health and safety for plant operators and employees.
  • Increased sustainability and reduced environmental footprint.
  • As well as, the opportunity to recover high purity nickel cathode downstream, post copper liberation. 
Now, I mentioned increased health and safety benefits and increased sustainability with emew advanced liberators, let me explain how this is achieved:
  • emew Advanced Liberators are enclosed cells, meaning they eliminate acid mist release and exposure, and no arsine generated or released to the atmosphere. And this vastly increases the health and safety of employees.
  • Also, no tertiary cake or sludge formation and, therefore, no removal required.
  • All three of these factors greatly increase the health and safety requirements for employees and operators creating a greater user-friendly environment and increased workplace satisfaction.
Replacement of Liberator Cells using emew technology
I bet your next question is, can emew Advanced Liberators be retrofit to my existing conventional liberators? Absolutely, they can! They can replace your entire existing liberator system (primary, secondary, tertiary), or replace just your secondary and tertiary system, or tertiary only if you want to recover copper down to low concentrations.
Contact us today to learn more about emew Liberators and how we can fit into your process to increase profitability, sustainability, and to improve employee health and safety.

Topics: electrowinning, mining, emew, Refining, Refinery Optimization