Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Camborne School of Mines


The project aims to improve EU security of supply in relation to cobalt by developing innovative and cost-effective methods to recover cobalt from Polish copper ore.The potential presence of cobalt in the ores is accepted, but it is currently not recovered. This project aims to understand the estimation of cobalt resources in a volumetric and mineralogical sense. In terms of mineralogy, this requires a robust characterisation of the ore in terms of the constituent minerals and the associations of cobalt minerals. Analyses will be performed with Qemscan and other advanced analytical techniques using samples selected on the basis of geology. In terms of volumentric analysis, geostatistics will be applied and, if required, developed to estimate the variability of the cobalt fed into the processing plant. Evaluation of geotechnical properties of the ore will also be undertaken - this will help inform an understanding of the downstream behaviour of the cobalt minerals and its associations.With sound understanding of the cobalt-bearing ore in place, the existing processing of copper ore in Poland will be analysed. The emphasis will lie on developing a process model which explains the passage of cobalt minerals through the existing process. With a firm understanding of the fate of cobalt in the process, the most promising options for recovery of cobalt will be investigated. While cobalt is not recovered with the current flotation process, it is expected that a leaching process will be necessary to extract cobalt. The research will investigate the dimensioning of a suitable leaching process in terms of process parameter. Subsequently, the the sensitivity of the leaching performance to variations in the feed mineralogy and process parameters will be assessed. Finally, the project will assess the economic viability of cobalt recovery from Polishcopper ore.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/M011372/1 01/05/2015 31/03/2020
1715491 Studentship NE/M011372/1 01/03/2016 31/08/2019 Paulina Pazik
Title Assessment of the metal recovery possibilities 
Description Using geostatistical analysis and estimation methods, as well as programming of the mining and mineral processing operation, cobalt recovery possibilities will be evaluated, according to the actual operating conditions and new proposed ones, taking in to account metal variation in the ore. This study will allow a thoroughful understanding of the cobalt behavior in the process and recovery challenges it creates. PhD is still in progress, therefore the methodology is still being developed 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This methodology could help to evaluate other valuable metals recovery in the future.