London-based Alexander Mining is to commercialise a new mineral processing technology which is claimed to offer major benefits in the treatment of base metal deposits.
The group has set up a new subsidiary company to develop AmmLeach, an ammonia heap leaching process first developed at one of its copper oxide deposits in Argentina.
According to Alexander, the process demonstrated operational, cost and environmental advantages compared to existing processes, especially because it requires no purpose-built equipment.
It uses ammonia-based chemistry to selectively extract base metals, especially copper, zinc, nickel and cobalt, from ore deposits.
The London group has set up a subsidiary called AmmLeach Ltd, which will aim to develop relationships with key companies in the global mining industry.
It told shareholders this may take the form of joint arrangements to take the IP of the technology forward, or by targeting problem ore deposits that have so far been uneconomic using existing processes.
Alexander Mining’s chief executive Dr Matt Sutcliffe said 40 per cent of the world’s copper is produced via acid heap leaching, with the price of acid currently at record highs.
‘The AmmLeach process can significantly reduce the operating costs of the heap leaching process,’ he claimed. ‘In addition it has the potential for a major breakthrough in the processing of previously untreatable zinc oxide with the development of the first heap leach zinc mines.’