Outotec VSF®X Plant

Modularized revolution for efficient solvent extraction

One stop shop

Decades of R&D


The new standardized and modularized Outotec VSF®X Plant provides a novel way to design, manufacture, transport, install, operate and maintain a solvent extraction plant far better than in the past with highly sustainable and safe methods.

Solvent extraction with advanced Outotec VSF® System gives superior operational results compared with conventional systems. It ensures maximum recovery of high-grade metal product.

In the solvent extraction phase of the process, incoming pregnant leach solution (PLS) is concentrated and purified, and a pure electrolyte is then used in electrowinning to produce chemically and physically high-quality product.

Decades of R&D

Outotec has been developing a wide range of solvent extraction technologies for decades. This long history of dedicated R&D began in response to increasing demands for lower operation and investment costs, together with more reliable and stable production where health and safety issues are given high priority in plant design.

The results have been impressive, and today the plants that use the ground-breaking Outotec VSF® (Vertical Smooth Flow) mixer-settler technology are among the most profitable in the world. Since launching the VSF® technology for copper applications more than a decade ago, Outotec has gained a leading market share of new copper solvent extraction capacity.

One stop shop - total delivery package

Outotec is the only technology provider that offers a highly predefined but still tailor-made total delivery package based on customers’ needs. Outotec’s renowned SX knowledge is automatically included in predesigned VSF®X Mixer-Settler modules. This innovative, modular product enables fast-track deliveries, predefined costs, state-of-the-art documentation and implementation, efficient logistics, and fast installation - all this in and environmentally friendly and sustainable way.


  • 20% shorter lead time
  • Decades of experience in solvent extraction
  • Predefined concept and modular design
  • Lower investment, installation and operation costs
  • Increased availability
  • Proven environmentally sound technology
  • Enhanced safety
  • Life cycle services available

All metals for which extraction reagent is available, can be extracted with Outotec VSF® solvent extraction technology.


With long experience in solvent extraction and proven VSF® solvent extraction technology, Outotec is one of the main suppliers for copper solvent extraction plants. Copper is the main metal extracted with Outotec VSF®.  With VSF® technology, flow capacities up to 6000 – 7000 m3/h / train can be achieved. Outotec’s solvent extraction technology can be applied after copper heap or tank leaching.


Outotec has delivered some of biggest cobalt/nickel extractions in the world, for example the OMG Kokkola cobalt solvent extraction in Finland. Cobalt/nickel extractions are technically demanding. In the same solvent extraction plant where Co and Ni are extracted, a number of other impurity metals like Zn, Fe, Al, Cd, Cu, Ca, Mn, Mg may also be treated.


Outotec has many years of experience in zinc solvent extraction. In these processes, zinc has been an impurity metal, but the experience of zinc solvent extraction chemistry is also applicable in zinc production plants. Solvent extraction is an appropriate method for zinc plant solution purification when the process solution contains high amounts of chlorides and fluorides, e.g when electric arc furnace dusts are used as raw material. Outotec VSF® technology for zinc solvent extraction is used in Met-Mex Peñoles in Mexico, for example.

Other applications

All metals, for which is extraction reagent available, can be extracted with Outotec  VSF® technology.  VSF® technology has been used successfully in molybdenium and rhenium, and the technology is fully applicable to vanadinium and for uranium.


Outotec VSF® technology is the result of the continuous development of own mixer-settler technology. It has been designed to run at minimum operating costs, ensuring high profitability even during times of copper price fluctuations.

The scalability of this technology makes it exceptionally well suited for both larger and smaller plants, as it enables low entrainment values and very stable performance even with fluctuating flow rates. A further benefit of the scalable nature of VSF® solvent extraction technology is that it leads to a more compact plant layout and a reduced need for organic first fill inventory, as often only one VSF® train is required. This leads to significant savings in investment and operating costs.

In VSF® technology, pumping and mixing are carried out as separate processes. VSF® technology has three key elements:

  • A Dispersion Overflow Pump, Outotec DOP®
  • A set of two Outotec SPIROK® mixers
  • Proprietary settler design including Outotec DDG® fences


The basic idea behind the VSF® technology is to have smooth agitation throughout the SX plant to avoid oxidation of organic and development of overly small droplet size in dispersion. These principles give Outotec's SX plant the flexibility to run in widely varying conditions and to have high trough output with very little organic losses and crud formation.

Outotec Cooling Towers are utilised as a part of gypsum removal process, which is required at some solvent extraction plants.

SX-EW performance monitoring and operator support

The Outotec Proscon® Hydro is a process automation package including

  • process control system
  • process instrumentation
  • process electrification
  • all of the required services

Thus, engineering of process control goes smoothly and a reduced number of parties ensures that specifications and schedules are met and responsibilities are clear.

Outotec deals only with modern, well-known and respected hardware and software manufacturers.

Process control is based on process information gathered by automation systems, chemical analysis and human knowledge. Fast control actions are ensured with Outotec on-line analyzers, which provide real-time information. A process analyzer is chosen for each application based on the process requirements.

Outotec’s monitoring system enables improvements in SX-EW plant process control, which ultimately means increased throughput and recovery of copper and decreased chemical consumption. The system is based on on-line steady-state mass balances of the process and the utilization of COURIER® on-stream analyzer assays. The purpose of the system is to assist operators and plant metallurgists in daily process operating tasks such as process control, trouble-shooting and performance monitoring. The on-line user interface provides easy access for reconciled key material flows and performance figure information with diagnostic indicators of the extraction, stripping and electrowinning areas.

Environmental awareness and protection are important features of all Outotec technologies.

We make effective use of raw materials and aim to reduce water and energy consumption. We strive to provide environmentally sustainable precipitation processes with the minimal consumption of additive agents. The production of residues is minimized, and the residues that are unavoidable for the process are stable or re-usable. Consequently, environmental protection is an integrated feature of our technologies.

Health and safety issues are essential elements of Outotec’s solvent extraction technologies. We ensure that our technologies are easy to control and have a low maintenance requirement. The operator’s safety is strictly observed from design phase forward. Safety with respect to operation, equipment, the environment and personnel are improved in an easy and convenient manner with the help of advanced automation.

Fire safety is taken into consideration in equipment design as well as with an advanced fire prevention system. The high efficiency of Outotec VSF® equipment also means that the technology is environmentally sound: Outoetc DOP® pump electricity consumption is lower than for conventional technology and low organic entrainment leads to lower reagent consumption. In addition, no emissions to air are generated at a solvent extraction plant


Technology upgrades of existing plants

Customer / Plant

Type of plant/Scope of service

Location (city, country)


FMI / Morenci                                                           Stargo, Cu SX Arizona, US 2008
Codelco Train A, Cu SX Chuquicamata, Chile 2008
OMG Kokkola Chemicals Circuit B Kokkola, Finland 2007
FMI / Morenci Central, Cu SX Arizona, US 2006
OMG Kokkola Chemicals Circuit A Kokkola, Finland 2006


Greenfield solvent extraction plants and expansion projects

Customer / Plant

Type of plant/Scope of service

Location (city, country)


Cengiz Group VSF X  Cu, Co and Zn Turkey 2013
Grupo Mexico Recovery of Cu Mexico 2013
Lumina Copper / Caserones Recovery of Cu Caserones, Chile 2012
KGHM Ecoren SA Impurity SX, Recovery of Ca, Cu, Co Glogow, Poland 2011
SPCC Recovery of Cu Tia Maria, Peru 2011
Chambishi Metals Recovery of Cu Zambia 2009
Quadra FNX Mining / Franke Recovery of Cu Chile 2009
RCC Recovery of Cu Miheevsk, Russia 2009
Assarel Medet JSC Recovery of Cu Bulgaria 2009
Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta Removal of Ca Harjavalta, Finland 2009
Inmet Mining / Cobre Las Cruces Recovery of Cu Cobre Las Cruces, Spain 2008
MET-MEX Penoles Recovery of Cu Milpillas, Mexico  2006
Minera Escondida Ltda Recovery of Cu Chile 2006
MMG / Sepon Copper Recovery of Cu Laos 2005
RCC Recovery of Cu Gumeshevsky, Russia 2005
OMG Kokkola Chemicals Recovery of Cu Kokkola, Finland 2001
FMI / Morenci Expansion, Recovery of Cu Morenci,  USA 2000
Codelco / Radomiro Tomic Expansion, Recovery of Cu Chile 2000
OMG Kokkola Chemicals Recovery of Cu Kokkola, Finland 1999
FMI / Morenci Recovery of Cu Morenci, USA 1998
Codelco / Radomiro Tomic Recovery of Cu Chile 1997
MET-MEX Penoles Recovery of Zn Mexico 1997
Boliden Harjavalta Removal of Co Harjavalta, Finland 1995
Barrick Gold / Zaldivar Recovery of Cu Zaldivar, Chile 1995
OMG Kokkola Chemicals Removal of Ca and Mn Kokkola, Finland 1994
OMG Kokkola Chemicals Separation of Co and Mg Kokkola, Finland 1994
Boliden Kokkola Removal of Mn Kokkola, Finland 1991
Boliden Kokkola Recovery of Ni II Kokkola, Finland 1991
Boliden Kokkola Removal of anions Kokkola, Finland 1987
Boliden Kokkola Recovery of Ni Kokkola, Finland 1986
Boliden Kokkola Recovery of Zn Kokkola, Finland 1984
Boliden Kokkola Separation of Co and Ni Kokkola, Finland 1984
Boliden Kokkola Recovery of Re Kokkola, Finland 1981
Boliden Kokkola Recovery of Mo Kokkola, Finland 1977