Chemicals reagents supplier and distributor Axis House has developed the ALC9, a new type of smoothing agent that can provide smoother cathodes than any other product, even at densities of 450 A/m2.
Expected to run at industrial level early next year, the new product will be used in the electrowinning process, in which a current is passed from an inert anode through an electrolyte solution that contains copper so that the metal is extracted as it is deposited in an electroplating process onto the cathode.
The smoothing agent will allow for a larger output, since the cathodes can be plated at a faster rate, while improving the quality of the output, Axis House product manager Muhammed Vawda tells Mining Weekly. This reduces the need to recycle cathodes.
“Overall smoother cathodes coming out at a faster rate from the tank house is a step change for the industry.”
Axis House has been operational in the Copperbelt, in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, for about 20 years, and has grown its business in the copper industry by partnering with clients. He comments that research collaboration with mining companies enables Axis House to work together with mines’ technical teams, ensuring that optimal metal recovery is achieved.
“Clients are continuously considering ways to reduce costs, especially during challenging times, and Axis House partners with them to improve production with more selective and effective reagents.”
He explains that ALC9 will be beneficial to the Copperbelt, as the region mainly consists of oxidised copper minerals that undergo leaching and cathode plating.
The new smoothing agent has been extensively tested on laboratory scale and has shown positive results in all aspects of the electrowinning process, he states.