Thursday, 7 June 2012

Report on the ALTA 2012 nickel/cobalt/copper, uranium & gold conference

ALTA 2012 was held at the Burswood Convention Centre, Perth, Western Australia from May 26 to June 2 2012.

Alan and Joan Taylor of ALTA
The annual ALTA conferences have been run for the past 16 years by Alan Taylor and his wife Joan. MEI was represented at last year’s event, which we found very impressive, and I am pleased to hear from Alan that this year’s conference was very well attended with about 280 attendees from over 25 countries. The parallel 34 booth exhibition attracted exhibitors from 8 countries.

The conference was officially opened by Richard Matheson representing the Nickel Institute in Australasia and South-East Asia who focused on “Promoting Nickel Use and Re-use”.

The keynote address at the Nickel-Cobalt Dinner was given by David Dreisinger, Professor and Chairholder, Industrial Research Chair in Hydrometallurgy, the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada and President, Dreisinger Consulting Inc. who spoke on "Hydroprocessing of Sulphides - Where Are We and Where Are We Heading”. The Nickel-Cobalt-Copper Sessions included a Forum and Panel Discussion on “Hydroprocessing of Sulphides” which included papers on bio, pressure, galvanic and chloride leaching. Other topics included processing of laterites, laterite projects, process technology, electrowinning, SX/IX, cobalt recovery and equipment and materials. A highlight was Eramet’s paper on their Weda Bay Project, Indonesia, for which they have developed an atmospheric leaching based process.

The featured Forum and Panel Discussion in the uranium sessions focused on “Uranium Heap Leaching”. Other topics presented included SX/IX, uranium ore leaching, and project development. A number of developing projects were presented including UraniumSA’s Samphire Project in South Australia, Toro Energy’s Wiluna Project in Western Australia, Greenland Minerals and Energy’s Kvanefjeld Project in Greenland, Aura Energy’s Häggån Project in Sweden and A-Cap Resources’ Letlhakane Project in Botswana.

Rob Dunne
Robert Dunne, of Newmont Mining Corporation, Denver, USA, who will be presenting a keynote lecture at Precious Metals ’12 in November, gave a keynote address in the Gold Sessions on “Challenges and Opportunities in the Treatment of Refractory Gold Ores”. A Forum and panel discussion on the same topic was also included with papers on diagnostic leaching, copper-gold ores, thiosulphate systems, Maelgwyn technology, roasting, bio-oxidation and the Albion Process. Other topics included AMIRA’s research and development for the gold industry, treatment of antimonial ores, cyanide detox and the use of computational fluid dynamics in mixing applications.

Practically oriented short courses on “SX and Its Application to Copper, Uranium and Nickel Cobalt” and “Uranium Ore Processing” were presented by Alan Taylor, Principal of ALTA.

The conference proceedings and short course manuals are now available from ALTA Metallurgical Services.

ALTA is now planning and receiving abstracts for the ALTA 2013 Nickel-Cobalt-Copper, Uranium and Gold Conference to be held in Perth, Western Australia, during May 25 – June 1 2013. It will feature Forums and Panel Discussions on “PAL of Laterites”, “Uranium IX” and “Cyanide Recovery, Recycle, Detox and Alternative Reagents”.

If you attended ALTA ’12, we would welcome your comments on the event.

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