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JuCaTec

JUMBO ELECTRODE TECHNOLOGY


FOR COPPER ELECTROWINNING
N. Anastasijevic
1
, J.-P.Nepper
2
and Michael H. Barker
3
Outokumpu Technology GmbH, Ludwig-Erhard-Strasse 21, D-61440 Oberursel, Germany.
1
Vice President. R & D, Telephone +49 6171 96963 255
Nikola.Anastasijevic@Outokumpu.com
2
Senior Product Manager Copper, Telephone+49 6171 96963 334
J ean-Paul.Nepper@Outokumpu.com
3
Senior Research Metallurgist - Electrochemistry
Outokumpu Research Oy, Kuparitie 10, FIN-28101 Pori, Finland.
Michael.Barker@Outokumpu.com
JuCaTec

Anastasijevic, Nepper, Barker


* approx. figures
METAL ELECTROWINNING
Production* t/y
7,900,000
2,800,000
Major Processes
Zinc
Copper
The cathode size currently used in copper electrowinning is
driven more by history and product marketing than by
technological reasons.
Taken from the copper refinery process
at the time when SX-EW was introduced (acceptance).
EW and copper refinery share the same
development in terms of cell design, size
and cathode design (permanent cathode),
handling, stripping etc..
JuCaTec

Anastasijevic, Nepper, Barker


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.
JuCaTec

Anastasijevic, Nepper, Barker


0
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1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000
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Zinc
Copper
Increase of cathode size not yet
implemented in copper
electrowinning ( )
Increase in cell and cathode size
has been used successfully to
reduce production costs of
Zn electrowinning
(Cathode/bar contact has been
a bottleneck for enlargement
of Zinc cathode)
JuCaTec

Anastasijevic, Nepper, Barker


Is the J umbo size cathode feasible
for Copper electrowinning?
If yes, does it work?
Next Step?
JuCaTec

Anastasijevic, Nepper, Barker


FEASIBILITY / BASE CASE:
130 000 t/y copper EW tankhouse in Chile
Lead anodes and stainless steel cathodes.
Same electrolyte composition
(40 to 37 g/l Copper and 180 to 185 g/l free acid).
Same assumptions for both plants:
average crane velocity, current density (300 A/m) and 95% availability.
Use of biggest possible commercially available cell
84 cathodes for state-of-the-art technology and
114 cathodes/cell for J uCaTec

(biggest J umbo cell used in Zinc electrolysis).


Stripping machine capacities:
450 cathodes/hr for the state-of-the-art technology and
350 for J uCaTec

size cathodes/h (conservative approach).


JuCaTec

Anastasijevic, Nepper, Barker


FEASIBILITY / BASE CASE (continuation):
4m vs. 2m immersed cathode area comparison.
Investment costs included
equipment (stripping machine(s), storage racks, crane(s)),
cell area, power supply, electrolyte piping, cell ventilationsystems,
engineering, transport to the site and packaging.
Operating costs included
power consumption, labour and others e.g. chemicals and consumables.
Impact of plant size considered
range: 100,000 to 500,000 t/y electrowon copper
JuCaTec

Anastasijevic, Nepper, Barker


FEASIBILITY / RESULTS:
Savings potential with J uCaTec

:
- lower investment costs, up to 20% savings
- lower operating costs (up to 10%).
Reasons:
- more compact tankhouse (smaller tankhouse footprint)
- shorter crane distances,
- less handling (means less labour),
- reduced number of stripping machines and cranes.
JuCaTec

Anastasijevic, Nepper, Barker


VERIFICATION:
Single Electrode Test
with artificial electrolyte (done)
Industrial size Prototype cell test
(pending)
JuCaTec

Anastasijevic, Nepper, Barker


Single Cathode Test Conditions:
Electrode sizes:
500 x 2105mm cathode (J uCaTec)
500 x 1105mm cathode (state-of-the-art height)
Anode-to-anode
centre spacing 100 mm
Electrolyte at inlet:
40g/l Cu +150g/l free acid @ 40C
C.D. 300 A/m
Manual stripping
JuCaTec

Anastasijevic, Nepper, Barker


1
9
8
6
5
3
4
2 7
6
10
9a
8a
K
A A A A A
K
K
Electrically both cells connected in series.
JuCaTec

Anastasijevic, Nepper, Barker


easy stripping,
copper was removed as a single rigid panel
JuCaTec

Anastasijevic, Nepper, Barker


During the runmonitoringof:
Cell voltage, T
INLET
/C & T
OUTLET
/C
Electrolyte analysis
Sampled manually from overflow of CuOenrichment tank
Cathode analysis
Cathode ID, map & numbering
Photos of whole cathode
After stripping, masses & length of 4 parts measured
Samples punched (2cm discs)
Micrographs
Cathode Chemical analysis
JuCaTec

Anastasijevic, Nepper, Barker


MAIN RESULTS OF THE SINGLE ELECTRODE
VERIFICATION TEST
Tests with a single jumbo cathode and artificial electrolyte
successfully performed:
- Current Efficiencies > 90%
- Same Cathode Microstructure and impurity level, e.g.
same cathode quality as with normal sized EW cathodes
- Practically same cell voltage
JuCaTec

Anastasijevic, Nepper, Barker


Next step:
Test of a Prototype industrial size cell
In-plant Verification (SX-EW)