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BASF and Catholic University of the North in Chile collaborate on mining research, development and innovation

BASF and the Catholic University of the North (UCN) in Antofagasta, Chile, have signed a collaboration agreement to promote research, development and innovation in mining. The aim of this collaboration is to strengthen the cooperation between academia, students and industry experts.

In addition to leveraging synergies in the development of innovative products and solutions, the collaboration is also expected to provide career entry opportunities for promising mining talent. As part of the venture, BASF established a technical service and development laboratory for flotation, hydrometallurgy and solid-liquid separation (SLS) at UCN.

This alliance offers us the opportunity to connect with a leading company on a global scale, so it is a mutually beneficial relationship. One of the largest chemical companies in the world has established itself at the Catholic University of the North with two areas of significant importance pertaining to the mining industry, such as solid-liquid separation and solvent extraction reagents. This partnership will provide students with employment opportunities, professional internships, reports, and access to BASF's laboratories that will be available to teach and explain the processes they carry out.

—Dr. Óscar Benavente Poblete, UCN Department of Metallurgical and Mining Engineering (DIMM)

We are constantly faced with the challenge of commercializing new innovative products that can make mining more sustainable, such as reducing water consumption or increasing metal recovery.

—Jorge Davo, Regional Manager of the BASF mining solutions business in South America

Ever-increasing demand for minerals and metals poses major challenges for the mining industry, especially when faced with depleting ore grades and more complex ore mineralogy. To meet these challenges in the copper industry, BASF Mining Solutions developed LixTRA Technology for Heap and Dump leach processes. LixTRA provides the industry an opportunity to increase metal recovery, reduce mining costs and extend the life of the mine in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner.


Source: BASF Mining Solutions

However, the launch of LixTRA requires extensive laboratory testing to demonstrate the benefits it can bring to a customer’s copper heap leach process. The hydrometallurgy laboratory at UCN is fully resourced to enable column leaching to be carried out on customer’s individual ores. This, coupled with state-of-the-art analytical techniques, allows BASF to accurately determine the increase in copper recovery and the reduction in processing costs associated with LixTRA’s use.

Following the excellent results achieved during laboratory and industrial trials, BASF has secured its first commercial application in the region.


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