Hydrometallurgy Insights Issue 1 / 2019
It is a great honor for me to write the editorial for this first issue of the Outotec Hydrometallurgy Newsletter. You may be wondering why we want to publish such a newsletter right now, and what the purpose is, so let me try to shed some light on these questions.
Outotec, and its direct predecessor Outokumpu, is a true pioneer of hydrometallurgy. Our history in hydrometallurgy dates back to the 1970s when we developed VSF Solvent Extraction (VSF SX) technology and started our first plant. Since then we have introduced a number of groundbreaking products that have helped the metals processing industry to adopt hydrometallurgical technologies. Some of the important milestones include:
• 1985 – startup of first OKTOP hydrometallurgical reactor
• Late 1980s – tankhouse equipment added to our product portfolio
• 1997 – first complete copper solvent extraction + electrowinning plant delivered
• 1998 – startup of first zinc direct leaching plant
• 2011 – first pressure leaching plants sold
Today, we can proudly say that our capabilities and offerings cover everything from process testing and flowsheet development to plant design and proprietary equipment supply for the hydrometallurgical processing of all key metals (copper, zinc, nickel, gold, cobalt, lithium, etc.). The core hydrometallurgical technologies we have mastered include leaching (both atmospheric and pressure leaching), solvent extraction, precipitation, electrowinning, and electrorefining.
So, if we have been in the industry for so long why has it taken until now to put together the first hydrometallurgy newsletter? Firstly, I suppose that we have simply been too busy developing the technologies and products and designing and building the plants. Secondly, we are engineers by nature, not marketers; our real passion is technology and process development.
When we meet new customers, they are astonished by the vast knowledge and experience that we possess. That is why we thought that now would be the time to begin a new chapter in our journey by starting to tell the outside world a bit more who we are and what we do. I hope you enjoy this first issue of the Outotec Hydrometallurgy Newsletter. Please let us know if there are any specific topics that you want to hear more about in future issues. Our intention is to publish the newsletter at least twice a year going forward.
Juha Kemppainen | Vice President, Hydrometallurgy