BASF and Moleaer™ partner to combine novel technologies in the field of mining to enhance copper recovery
LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany & HAWTHORNE, Calif. — () — Global chemical company BASF and Moleaer™ Inc., the global leader in nanobubble technology, today announced an exclusive partnership. This partnership will combine expertise in mineral processing, hydrometallurgy, gas transfer, and nanobubble technology to develop innovative processes for mining. The initial aim is to target the copper leaching process and improve extraction rates of copper ores containing high levels of chalcopyrite, which have historically been difficult to leach.
The demand for copper is expected to increase significantly, as it is an essential raw material for driving the electric revolution. This will play a key role as an enabler to decarbonizing the global economy. According to a report released in July by S&P Global Market Intelligence, the annual demand for copper is projected to reach 50 million metric tons by 2035, from the current 25 million metric tons today. The study also finds a potential copper deficit of as much as 10 million metric tons.
As existing mines deplete their resources, higher demand will require new mines. In addition, ore grades are declining, ore mineralogy is becoming more complex, and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) responsibilities are increasing. The result is that new mines are taking longer and longer to come to fruition. Therefore, maximizing the recovery of copper from existing reserves has never been more crucial.
Copper is extracted from primary sulfide ores through a flotation process and low-grade ores are traditionally discarded because they are too costly to process. Currently, an alternative hydrometallurgical heap leach process is employed for low grade oxide and secondary sulfide ores. It is, however, very difficult to leach primary sulfide ores, such as chalcopyrite, which leads to low recovery efficiencies.
Based on test work conducted by BASF, Moleaer’s nanobubble technology improves the extraction process of valuable metals such as copper. When combined with BASF’s LixTRA™ reagent, the mineral recovery rates and efficiencies are compounded, especially in sulfide-based ores such as chalcopyrite, which have historically been challenging to leach effectively.
Caren Hoffman, who leads the global mining solutions business at BASF, states: “Technological improvements and collaborations like the one we announced today are essential if the industry is to maximize the recovery of copper at existing mines. By combining BASF’s LixTRA reagent, allowing greater ore-lixiviant contact, together with Moleaer’s nanobubble technology to facilitate a higher oxidative environment, we offer technology to the industry to significantly increase copper recoveries.”
Nick Dyner, CEO of Moleaer, added: “We look forward to working with BASF, a global leader in mineral extraction chemistry, to improve the recovery of copper and help support the green economy. This important collaboration comes at a time when the ability of mining copper is only getting more costly and challenging. Moleaer’s nanobubble technology will allow the mining industry to improve the efficiency and efficacy in existing mines and narrow the gap between supply and demand of copper.”
About BASF mining solutions
With innovative products, global field support and industry leading technical expertise, BASF mining solutions provides sustainable solutions which increase productivity, recovery and flexibility throughout the hydrometallurgical process of mining operations in leaching, solvent extraction, flotation, solid/liquid separation and tailings management. Further information can be found at www.mining-solutions.basf.com
BASF mining solutions is part of BASF’s Performance Chemicals division. The division’s portfolio also includes fuel and lubricant solutions, plastic additives, as well as oilfield chemicals. Customers from a variety of industries including Chemicals, Plastics, Consumer Goods, Energy & Resources, and Automotive & Transportation benefit from our innovative solutions. To learn more, visit www.performancechemicals.basf.com
Moleaer™ is the leading nanobubble technology company with over 2,000 nanobubble generator installations in 42+ countries. Deploying the unique power of nanobubbles, Moleaer enhances and improves the performance and productivity of some of the most critical industrial processes, unlocking the power of water to help farmers grow more food, empower businesses to manage their water needs more effectively and efficiently, and restore aquatic ecosystems sustainably without chemicals.
Nanobubbles, which are 2,500 times smaller than a grain of salt, allow the scarce resource of water do more with less. They supersaturate water with oxygen, form natural oxidants for disinfection, improve plant health, and increase water’s ability to permeate soil and rock. Moleaer’s patented nanobubble technology provides the highest oxygen transfer rate in the aeration and gas infusion industry, with an efficiency of more than 85% per foot of water. Its nanobubble generators are a cost-effective, chemical-free solution proven to increase sustainable food production, reduce chemical usage, restore aquatic ecosystems, and improve natural resource recovery. Moleaer technology has been validated by extensive research and renown universities.