The use of solar energy in the copper mining processes: A comprehensive review

Behar O.; R. PEÑA; S. Kouro; Kracht, W.; E. Fuentealba; L. Moran; D. Sbarbaro


The copper mineral processing industry faces complex scenarios with increased demand, highly variable energy prices, falling ore grades that increase energy consumption, and increasing concern about the industry's carbon footprint. To reduce the risk imposed by these scenarios, the industry is looking at the use of renewable energy sources. Considering that the most important copper mines in Chile are situated in regions with high radiation levels, solar energy has the potential to be an attractive and sustainable source of energy. This paper provides an overview of the current solar technologies and how they have been applied to address some of the challenges faced by the copper mining industry today. It describes the use of solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies to produce power and heat for the copper mining processes. Indeed, solar photovoltaic technologies can be used to produce electricity for the comminution machines, electro-refineries and water pumping while solar thermal technologies are useful for electricity generation, heat production, thermal leaching and drying of copper concentrate. The review also analyzes, from a broader perspective, the potential of these technologies in the operation and design of new solar copper mineral processes. It is concluded that there several feasible options to integrate solar energy into the copper mining processes.

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Título de la Revista: Cleaner Engineering and Technology
Volumen: 4
Editorial: Elsevier
Fecha de publicación: 2021
Página de inicio: 100259
Idioma: English