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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: North America: June 9th 2005


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:: Phelps Dodge to Construct First-Ever Commercial-Scale Copper Concentrate Leaching Facility at Morenci Mine

Phelps Dodge Mining Co., a division of Phelps Dodge Corp., will construct the first-ever commercial-scale copper concentrate leaching and direct electrowinning facility at its copper mine in Morenci, Ariz., the company announced today.

The facility will employ proprietary technology developed by Phelps Dodge and under demonstration at its copper mine in Bagdad, Ariz., to process mixed primary and secondary copper ores. It is being built in conjunction with the restart of an idled concentrator at Morenci.

The corporation’s board of directors has approved expenditures of $210 million for these projects, which are expected to begin operating in 2007.

Concentrate leaching technology, in conjunction with a conventional milling and flotation concentrator, allows copper sulfide ores to be transformed to copper metal through the efficient pressure leaching and electrowinning process instead of smelting and refining. The new concentrate leaching facilities will be incorporated into the existing leaching and electrowinning complex at Morenci, which is the world’s largest. The production from these facilities will replace an expected decline in Morenci’s heap leach output later this decade. Phelps Dodge and Placer Dome, Inc. have a technology development agreement in place covering copper concentrate leaching technology.

Phelps Dodge anticipates that an estimated 500 construction jobs and 230 permanent jobs will be created by restarting the concentrator and constructing and operating the concentrate leach facility.

The actions being taken at Morenci will affect several other Phelps Dodge facilities in Arizona and New Mexico, including the Miami refinery in Arizona, the Chino smelter in New Mexico, and the Tyrone and Cobre mines in New Mexico.




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