Panel Notes

from ALTA conferences


ALTA 2020 Hydromet Processing of Ni-Co-Cu Sulphides *New

November 2020

Topics discussed and debated included the increasing role of hydromet processing for producing battery precursor products; challenges for meeting the stringent specifications for battery precursors; potential role for bioleaching for nickel, cobalt and copper; recovery of cobalt from pyritic ores; prospects for new laterite projects given the high capex of currently proven processes; prospects for commercialisation of new laterite processes such as chloride and nitric acid leaching; deep sea nodules as an alternative source of battery metals; effects of water availability and management on future ore processing; and future uptake of dry stacking. Watch Video

ALTA 2020 Application of Membranes *New

November 2020

Topics addressed included lessons learned from commercial uranium applications; potential for upgrading leach solutions; testwork and scale-up for commercial applications; potential for use in REE processing; clarification of membrane feed solutions; prevention of scale formation and descaling; membrane life and effect on economics; and possible future developments in membrane materials. Watch Video

ALTA 2020 Application of ISR to Copper *New

November 2020

The panel discussion on the application of ISR to copper which is becoming the next major target for ISR after uranium. The agenda covered enabling technologies, approaches and methodologies; priorities to unlock/increase future potential; main challenges to implementation; unconventional applications (e.g. remediation) and crossover of tools from other industries (e.g. oil and gas); economics and permitting; and achieving social license to operate. Watch Video

ALTA 2020 Cyanide Alleviation & Alternative Lixiviants *New

November 2020

The panel discussed and debated the key industry issues of cyanide alleviation and alternative lixiviants, including regulatory environment for cyanide use in mining-Influence of governments and NGOs; industry practice and track record; cyanide monitoring and control-Instrumentation, analysis and site balances; cyanide recovery and recycle developments including IX, AVR, SART, thickening and dry stacking etc; alternative lixiviants and recovery methods including thiosulphate, thiourea, glycine etc. Watch Video

ALTA 2020 Trends in Battery Technology *New

November 2020

The panel involved in a highly topical review of trends in battery technology and key issues in lithium processing. The agenda included Cathode Materials: are we on the right path with high nickel ternary NCM chemistries?; Anodes: siliconised graphite versus all-silicon (according to Tesla) anodes?; Electrolytes: what opportunity is there for Australian electrolyte manufacture and niche cell production?; Recycling: how should Australia position itself in the global context?; Lithium Processing: learnings from business failures in spodumene production; and optimising lithium refining: key areas and opportunities for high impact improvements in yield, waste reduction and energy efficiency. Watch Video

ALTA 2019 Pressure Acid Leaching

May 2019

The main topics discussed included improvements to the HPAL process for laterites, thickening and rheology, indirect heaters, utilising acid in HPAL residue, individual pots versus multi-compartment autoclaves, operation and control improvements, safety, hazardous materials, and tailings disposal, benefits of industry information sharing, HPAL versus NPI for producing nickel and cobalt sulphates, production of MHP versus MSP for supplying the battery industry, future prospects for nitric and chloride atmospheric tank leaching, and effect of nickel price on processing development. Read More

ALTA 2019 Novel Lithium Processes

May 2019

The main topics included Sodium Sulphate Issue, De-Risking the Processing of Non-Spodumene Resources, Outotec Alkaline Leach Process, Stationary Storage Batteries, Alternative LIB Precursor Feed Chemicals, Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries, Alternative Battery Electrolytes, and Battery Recycling. Read More

ALTA 2019 Developments in Uranium-REE IX

May 2019

The main topics included Future Wish List for IX in Uranium and REE Processing, Standard Procedures for Resin Evaluation, Resin Breakage and Make-Up and the Design of IX Systems, Solvent Impregnated Resins, and IX Versus SX for Uranium Recovery from Phosphoric Acid. Read More

ALTA 2019 Fit-For-Purpose Gold Leaching Systems

May 2019

The main topics included overcoming industry reluctance to adopt alternative lixiviants in gold processing, opportunities for IX in gold processing, advantages of hybrid lixiviant systems, options for replacement of CIP/CIL or RIP/RIL to eliminate inter-stage screens,  extension of thiosulfate to heap and in-situ leaching, and application of cyanide-free glycine leaching to agitated tank leaching. Read More

ALTA 2019 Enhancing ISR Permeability

May 2019

The main topics included, social license to operate hydraulic fracturing, fracturing of hard rock deposits, application of blasting to enhance permeability and create in-ground leaching “silos, and alternative techniques to enhance permeability.  Read More

ALTA 2018 Lithium Processing 

May 2018

The main topics included lithium market production forecasts, realistic ramp-up times, processing of alternative lithium minerals, testwork issues, novel lithium flowsheets, effect of boron, sodium sulphate issue, lithium carbonate versus lithium hydroxide, and direct shipped ore.  Read More

ALTA 2018 Refractory and Complex Gold Ores

May 2018

The main topics discussed included the need for new processes for refractory gold ores, alternatives to cyanide, stability of arsenic residues, heap leaching of refractory gold ores, and the need for collaboration and industry research.  Read More

ALTA 2018 Hydromet Processing of Sulphides

May 2018

The main topics discussed included the future for low-grade ores and concentrates, recovery of iron as a by-product, implications of more stringent water management, impact of logistics on the battery metals product chain, need to understand the market to identify optimum product form, designing processes with flexibility for changing market conditions, prospects for new SX and IX extractants for battery metal purification, and the need and benefits of collaboration.  Read More

ALTA 2017 Pressure Acid Leaching

May 2017

The main topics discussed were the strategy for a successful HPAL project, the advantages of starting small and expanding later, developing and applying new technology, challenges facing new HPAL projects, effect of nickel price and the largest operation HPAL autoclave.  Read More

ALTA 2017 Lithium Processing

May 2017

The main topics discussed were the projection of operating costs for new projects, the definition and achievement of battery grade product, assessment of alternatives to lithium, and the cause of battery fires.  Read More

ALTA 2017 Cyanide Alternatives/Alleviation

May 2017

The discussion focussed mainly on developments in cyanide recovery/recycle technology and non-cyanide alternatives, driven by the need to satisfy the increasing concerns of government regulators and change adverse public perception. Other related topics included on-site manufacture of cyanide, reagents for in-situ leaching, dry stacking of tailings, the potential role of IX, and strategies for funding technological innovations that will be made available to the industry as a whole.  Read More


ALTA 2016 Hydromet Processing of Sulphides

May 2016

A wide ranging discussion was held involving contributions from the delegates as well as the panel members. The main focus was on whether we are any closer to hydromet overtaking smelting for sulphide concentrates. Read More

ALTA 2016 Membranes in Uranium Ore Processing

May 2016

The discussion covering the pros and cons of membranes in the hydrometallurgical field and uranium ore processing in particular, including Paladin’s operating experience at Kayelekera in Malawi, and Langer Heinrich in Namibia.
Read More

ALTA 2016 Refractory Gold Forum Panel Discussion

May 2016

A wide-ranging discussion was held involving contributions from delegates as well as panel members. While the main focus was on refractory gold metallurgy, the topics discussed covered all aspects of gold production.  Read More

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