Copper Refineries Pty Ltd
Copper Refineries Pty Ltd is our world-class electrolytic copper refinery in Townsville, North Queensland.
Using Glencore's proprietary IsaKIDD process, the refinery produces up to 300,000 tonnes a year of 99.995% pure copper cathode—the primary raw material used to produce copper wire, cabling and many other products we use every day.
The copper purifying process
Copper mining and processing operations at our Queensland Metals business involves a three-step process.
- Firstly, we mine the ore at our two underground copper mines at Mount Isa Mines and Ernest Henry Mining.
- Secondly, we smelt the ore into copper anode at our Mount Isa Mines copper smelter. This 99.7% pure copper anode is transported by rail and road to our copper refinery in Townsville.
- Finally, we refine the copper anode at CRL by using the IsaKIDD electrolytic refining process.
Electrolytic refining involves submerging copper anodes in an acidic copper sulphate solution, between stainless steel mother plates in the refinery tankhouse.
A low voltage electric charge is fed through the tanks. Over 10 days this causes the copper anode to dissolve into the copper sulphate solution, where the copper content is separated from remaining waste material, which falls to the bottom of the tank.
The positively charged copper content is redeposited on the stainless steel mother plate as 99.995% pure, premium London Metal Exchange (LME) Grade A ISA brand copper cathode.
More than one product for export
We strip the copper cathodes from the stainless steel plates, then wash, sample and bundle them to sell to international customers. This product is shipped through the Port of Townsville.
The impurities left after electrolytic refining contain other valuable minerals including silver and gold, which we also export to customers around the world from the Port of Townsville.
World-leading technology development
In addition to refining copper, we support Glencore Technology’s ongoing development and marketing of its global refining technology, the IsaKidd process.
To date, more than two million cathode plates have been manufactured on site.
Glencore’s operations make a valuable socio-economic contribution in Townsville, where our port operations and copper refinery are based.
We aim to build enduring relationships within the local community that result in positive and lasting social and economic benefits.
We acknowledge the Wulgurukaba and Bindal people, the Traditional Owners of the land on which we operate, respecting their culture, history and relationship to the land.
We have two community funding programs:
- Community Assistance Program (CAP): Community-based events and initiatives
- Futures Fund: Large, locally based infrastructure projects, identified in consultation with community, stakeholders and government.
If you have any questions about Copper Refineries Pty Ltd, please contact us using the information below.
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