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Kennecott's High-Grade Mo Concs Sales Strategy In Japan
= Metallurgical grade though Mitsubishi Corp., chemical grade through Rio Tinto Japan =
Kennecott Utah Copper (fully owned by Rio Tinto) is to launch production and sales, with planned start-up in 2013, of high-grade (Mo: 65 – 66%) molybdenum oxide concentrates using Autoclave process facility. Marketing of the product in Japan is being prepared to go through Mitsubishi Corporation with regard to the metallurgical grade and through Rio Tinto Japan regarding the chemical grade concentrates.

Rio Tinto announced already in 2010 that Kennecott would start production of molybdenum oxide concentrates by installing one unit of Autoclave process facility at Bingham Canyon mine, Utah, together with a plan of large-scale mining expansion at the mine. According to the plan, Kennecott is to reach full production at the Autoclave by the fourth quarter of 2013 (phase 1), when it will become capable of producing 30 million pounds of molybdenum in concentrates on annual basis, and the production will be expanded to 60 million pounds in 2015 (phase 2).

Production at Bingham Canyon of molybdenum in concentrates has been increasing annually since the project was announced to reach 25.3 million pounds during the first nine months of 2011.

The Autoclave process was already adopted on site to extract metals such as copper and nickel. As to nickel, the process has been in commercial production in the Philippines (at Palawan by Sumitomo Metal Mining), West Australia (by Glencore) and New Caledonia (by Vale). The project in Madagascar by Sherritt International also adopting the process is underway.

The Autoclave process is an upgrading process of metals, molybdenum at Bingham Canyon, by high-pressure leaching whose operation costs are said to be far lower than the upgrading process from the ore by going through many stages of flotation combined with the conventional roasting method by the multiple hearth roasting furnace (the Nicholas Herreshoff method).

Another merit of the process is that molybdenum content in the concentrates from the Autoclave process is expected to go higher at 65 – 66%, than the metal's content of 60% in the roasted concentrates of technical (metallurgical) grade, in addition to the expected negligibly low impurities such as lead and silicon.
last modified : Tue 17 Jan, 2012 [10:27]
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