ReAk at the Copper Conference 2022 in Santiago de Chile

The ReAK research consortium successfully participated in the Copper Conference in Santiago de Chile. From 13th to 17th November 2022, three partners presented the ReAK project and its research results and engaged in fruitful discussions about the copper value chain and the possibilities to reduce arsenic in copper concentrates.

Karsten Meiner presenting the conclusions of the investigation
© Karsten Meiner
Karsten Meiner presenting the conclusions of the investigation
Santiago de Chile
© Anna-Lisa Bachmann
Santiago de Chile
Networking during the opening ceremony from left: Loreto M. Valenzuela (Dean of Fac. of Eng. Pontificia Universidad Catolica Santiago de Chile), Dr. Gert Homm (Head of Bioeconomy, Fraunhofer IWKS), Juan Carlos Salas (Head of Engineering Faculty, Pontificia Universidad Catolica Santiago de Chile), Karsten Meiner (ReAK-Projekt TUBAF-INEMET, scientifical staff, PhD student)

A report from M. Sc. Karsten Meiner 

In the time period from 13.11. to 17.11.2022 the Copper Conference 2022 took place in the event center of Santiago de Chile, so-called Espacio Riesco.

Three partners of the ReAK research consortium were participating with presentations. Karsten Meiner from INEMET (Institute of Nonferrous Metallurgy and Purest Materials of TU Bergakademie Freiberg and Gert Homm hold their presentations live and Anna-Lisa Bachmann from Fraunhofer IWKS in Alzenau by video presentation.

The conference event took place from Sunday to Thursday, with short courses on Sunday, the technical symposia from Monday to Wednesday and the Industrial tours on Thursday. The plenary lectures started in the early morning and the lectures in the technical symposia in the later morning and continued in the following in the afternoon after the lunch break for social networking. Additionally, the conference participants could visit the exhibition hall to have a look on the current state of the art in copper metallurgy by different companies.

The technical symposia were divided into following thematic groups: Economics, Markets and Application, Mineral Processing, The Igor Wilkomirsky Symposium on Copper Pyrometallurgy, Hydrometallurgy, Electrometallurgy, Sustainability, Waste Management and Circular Economy, Geometallurgy and Process Optimization through Innovation, Automation and Design.

The presentation from Karsten Meiner at the first conference day met the auditoriums interest. He presented his results about the topic of sulfidic leaching, the characterization of the leaching products and the preliminary experiments of precipitation by addition of elemental sulfur. These results were also published within the conference proceedings with the title: “Investigations on the selective arsenic reduction form copper concentrates by alkaline sulfidic leaching and arsenic precipitation” as a companionship work result from INEMET, BGR, Aurubis and Wismut GmbH.

On Wednesday, the last of the three conference days for presentations, Gert Homm was holding his presentation about the main concept of the ReAK-Project. The presentation and conference paper had the title: „ReAK – Reduction of arsenic in copper concentrates“. The presentation was well-attended and the project focus was pledged as very relevant concerning the Chilean copper mining industry of the coming years.

At the same day, the third and last presentation of the ReAK- research consortium were taking place. Anna-Lisa Bachmann could not attend directly at the conference, hence, her presentation „ReAK – Reduction of arsenic in copper concentrates – WP 3.3.3: Electrochemical oxidation“- were shown as video recording. These results were also published within the conference proceedings.

Concerning altogether, the ReAK-consortium could present well his recent results achieved in three years ambitious work to the international community of the copper mining metallurgists, concerning the upcoming challenges in the Chilean mining industry of highly importance with first discussable solutions to the arsenic issue. The presentations were well-attended and in big interest of the auditorium.

Next to the technical symposia, the current trends of different companies concerning the hydro- and pyrometallurgical developments were exhibited in the exhibitions hall under the topic of “-green-mining”.

Moreover, during discussions with the companies exhibitors about a possible solution of the disposal problem, by glassification based on precipitated arsenic sulfide. This interesting way will be investigated further by INEMET. These developments show, that even in the traditional-held mining industry recent topics like environmental and climate safety is on top of the agenda.

During the evenings of the conference there were social events with an intense come-together-aspect for discussions, knowledge exchange and contact networking, as shown on the foto 2. There were three events, on Monday the Opening ceremony, on Tuesday the Miners Barbecue and on Wednesday the Closing Dinner.

At the end of the visit in Santiago de Chile both working groups of Dr. Katherine Jaramillo and Prof. Tomás Vargas at the University of Santiago de Chile and Dr. Alvaro Videla the Pontifica Universidad had invited us to visit and lead-around over the campus.

During the leading-around through the laboratory rooms of the different institutes of both universities there was a vigorous exchange about a work-together in the upcoming future and current research ideas.

In conclusion, there visit in Santiago de Chile to participate the Copper conference 2022 was very successful to publish within the conference proceedings and presenting the working results of the ReAK-research consortium to the International Community of the Copper Mining Industry. Additionally, the networking with potential partners of institutes and companies about the ongoing important research topics was achieved for a positive project outcome, concerning a possible investigation of the discussed project idea in following research projects. Therefore, we can resume a very positive impact for the ReAK-project by visiting the copper conference 2022.