The most usual process to obtain copper from oxide ores and some sulphides is through leaching stacks. In this process, heap leaching stacks (large dumps of already-crushed low-copper-grade materials) are irrigated with water and sulphuric acid to obtain a greater copper concentration in the drainage systems. However, copper concentrations are not homogenous in the heap leaching stacks and, consequently, a balanced irrigation process is not completely efficient. Currently, acid is spread homogeneously in all areas, leaving some over-irrigated and others under-irrigated.
ACCIONA is looking for startups that help us with the optimization of the leaching process. How could the leaching process be digitalized to become more efficient? How could the use of water and acid be optimized, considering the copper concentrations in the heap leaching stacks in real time? How could the copper concentrations in the heap leaching stacks be measured in real time? How could the required water and acid supply be improved?
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