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ThesisUniversity of Iceland>Verkfræði- og náttúruvísindasvið>Meistaraprófsritgerðir>

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/12073


Using Geothermal Energy for Raffine Heating in Copper Production

May 2012

The aim of this work was to study the feasibility of using geothermal energy for heating raffine (raffinate) solution in the process of copper production. Small-scale experiments have indicated that copper extraction levels can be improved significantly by adding heat to the solution. Two thermal energy sources were considered, namely the cooling water sourced from an adjacent geothermal power plant and low-temperature geothermal brine produced in the vicinity of the mine. These two alternatives were considered for Collahuasi copper mine in Chile due to the fact that the option of using geothermal energy for industrial heating was available on site, namely drilling for low temperature fluid and using cooling water from a prospective power plant.
According to the resulting high profits generated from the adaptation of either one of the two proposed process enhancements, it would be advisable to commence drilling in the low-temperature geothermal area as soon as possible. If however, the low-temperature reservoir cannot withstand the proposed utilization, it would be possible to re-evaluate the feasibility of the cooling-water approach after the commencement of the prospective power plant, which would in any case better than abandoning the project entirely.


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