“We hope it will give us a competitive advantage to develop projects that would not otherwise have been able to be
developed at the moment because of the quality of their copper
“This process is unique to us. We’ve done it to suit our
concentrate and there is no one else in the world that’s doing
anything like this.”
Triffett said OZ Minerals had a global growth aspiration and
was looking to expand its export markets to include big copper
manufacturers in Japan and Korea.
The company is currently engineering a plant and finalizing
costs to demonstrate the feasibility of the process.
Last month OZ Minerals was awarded the Statewide Super
Innovation in Resources Award for its hydromet technology at
the inaugural South Australian Resources Industry Awards.
The judging panel included the leader of the Minerals and
Energy strand at the University of South Australia’s Future
Industries Institute Bill Skinner who said hydromet would help
transform the industry.
“There’s an added advantage to hydromet— when they target
iron, other impurities come out along with it, uranium and
others,” he said.
“Having any elevated level of radioactive material in the
concentrate is not very good. Hydromet produces a more
valuable concentrate, reduces the carbon footprint, and removes
impurities for subsequent processing.
“The Southeast Asian market particularly is highly
technological. There is copper in just about everything,
computers,TVs, air conditioners. Most of the production of that
is coming out of China,Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Having this
technology does make South Australia a more attractive source.”
Australia has about 6% of the world's economic copper
resources and is ranked third after Chile (25%) and the USA
South Australia has almost 70% of Australia’s copper
resources and is home to a number of long-life deposits,
including Olympic Dam, the fourth largest copper resource in the