Glencore's innovative solutions maximise mining value

Mount Isa Mines and Glencore Technology have been at the forefront of developing innovative processes and technologies at its own sites that have been successfully implemented into many of the worlds' largest mining operations.

With orebodies becoming increasingly more complex to process, declining metal prices and rising costs, Mount Isa Mines mitigates the impact of these challenges through engineering innovative break-through solutions.

The technology arm of Mount Isa Mines, Glencore Technology, is dedicated to marketing our innovations around the world, and continuing to develop technology and solutions to improve efficiencies and keep mining operations viable.

In this three part series, Resourceful will explore these state-of-the-art mining, smelting and processing technologies.

Innovations conceived, developed and refined by Glencore include: ISASMELT™ smelting technology, BBOC™ precious metal refining technology, ISAKIDD™ copper electrowinning and electrorefining technology, the ISAMILL™ fine grinding technology, the ISA PROCESS™ copper refining technology, JAMESON CELL™ flotation technology, the ALBION PROCESS™ enabling technology, the HYPERSPARGE™ technology, and ZIPATANK™.

IsaKidd™

 ISAKIDD Technology is the benchmark in copper electrowinning and electrorefining technology, providing world-class plants following the integration of the ISA and KIDD Processes in 2006.

The development of the ISA PROCESS™ at the Townsville Copper refinery in the 1970s revolutionised the copper refining world. Now known as ISAKIDD™, this essentially replaced copper cathode starter sheets with stainless steel sheets mechanising what was a previously labour-intensive process.

The combined technologies account for over 11 million tonnes per annum of copper production from over 100 licencees worldwide, including Glencore's own operations.

ISASMELT™

Glencore Technology's ISASMELT™ provides an innovative, high intensity yet low cost submerged lance smelting process that is simple to operate. It can be used for a range of applications including copper and lead smelting as well as recycling.

The process is fully enclosed, and operates in regions with some of the toughest emissions standards.

ISASMELT™ is installed in major lead and copper smelting and converting operations around the world, including Australia, USA, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, India, Malaysia, China, Kazakhstan and Zambia.

ISAMILL

The ISAMILL™ is a major advancement in processing technology and the most energy efficient, highest intensity large-scale grinding machine on the market. It has a small footprint and a horizontal configuration, enabling efficiencies, safety and availability.

The ISAMILL™ reduces the energy cost, media cost and capital cost of grinding circuits. One of its strengths includes its ability to use inert ceramic grinding media, which leads to improved metallurgical performance when compared with conventional steel media.

The ISAMILL™ produces a steep particle size distribution in an open circuit without needing internal screens or closed circuit cyclones. The horizontal plug-flow design prevents short-circuiting, and provides for a robust and easy to operate technology. This means simplified and easy to operate circuits.

Today, there are more than 130 ISAMILLs™ installed around the world, with further development improvements still being worked on by Glencore Technology in partnership with Netzsch.

In the next edition of Resourceful we'll review the JAMESON CELL™ flotation technology, BBOC™ precious metal refining technology, the ALBION PROCESS™ enabling technology, the HYPERSPARGE™ technology, and ZIPA TANK™.