Fenix Hydromet installed the world’s first Iron Control system at the former Western Metals’ Mount Gordon site; the plant was designed to remove a nominal 220kg/day of iron from the site copper electrowinning solutions. Ausenco Engineers conducted the system engineering and the majority of the equipment (skid, tanks, control cabinets – excluding the air receiver) is constructed in 316 stainless steel.
The system was integrated into the Mt Gordon Cu SX/EW circuit as per the simplified flow sheet below. Electrolyte from the recirculation tank was fed to the system and the iron rich (10-15 g/L) upgraded electrolyte discharge from the system was directed back to the PLS where the copper could be recovered through the SX process. The FENIX Iron Control System enabled bleed reduction to be reduced by 80-90%.
The unit operated for almost a year prior to the purchase of the Mt Gordon site by Aditiya Birla of India who converted the mine to concentrate production to provide feed-stocks to their smelters in India. The FENIX Iron Control plant supplied to Mt Gordon was provided on a lease basis with payments made to Fenix Hydromet based upon kgs of iron removed from the circuit, during the plants operation on site it consistently achieved design removal rates and operated at up to 300 kg of iron removal per day.
The plant was constructed as a skid mounted unit, which could be transported by a low-loader truck enabling it to be mobilised quickly to different sites.