As part of the Production Test Facility, Florence Copper will construct a Solvent Extraction/Electrowinning (SX/EW) plant that will manufacture up to 99.999% pure copper cathode. SX/EW technology was initially developed in Miami, Arizona, approximately 45 miles northeast of Florence, and several SX/EW facilities are scattered throughout Arizona today. Once copper laden solution, also known as pregnant leach solution (PLS) is recovered from wells on the Florence Copper property, it goes for processing at the SX/EW plant. First the PLS flows into holding ponds. Then, the PLS goes through a solvent extraction process, and an organic substance is added to it. The copper is chemically attracted to the organic and clings to it until it floats on top of the PLS. (Think: Oil and water don’t mix.) This organic now has most of the copper, and it is collected and sent to be stripped of its copper to make a solution used in the electrowinning process. In the electrowinning process, electric current is used to plate out the copper into copper cathodes. (Similar to chrome electroplating on a bumper.) All water used through this process is treated and recycled back into the extraction process. Most of the direct jobs on site will be at the SX/EW facility.
Back to the blog index