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Innovation firm 3M backs Chile-based Lixivia

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(Credit: 3M) Image shows the logo of 3M.3M
February 1
1:12 PM 2014

3M has backed Chilean firm Lixivia through its New Ventures Business. In a statement about the investment, 3M said it had been collaborating with Lixivia on an engineering process that would improve the recovery of copper sulfurate to more than the levels attained using standard applications used in the industry. The release did not give financial details about the deal.

3M New Ventures President Stefan Gabriel said in the statement, "We believe that Lixivia's innovative technology addresses core issues of mining companies today. This company has the potential to significantly increase miners' diminished productivity and recover more copper sulfurate, which is a paradigm shift for miners' operations."

A catalyzing process that involves using ferric nitrate dissolved in the lixiviation solutions to act as a reagent to improve copper recuperation characterizes the newly-developed technology. Promising results on copper sulfurate was demonstrated by the process while maintaining the chemical balance of iron that is dissolved in the entire process, the statement said.

The patented technology underwent testing in 3M's plant in Antofagasta. The new process will still be subject to pilot tests this year. The new technology is set to be ready for implementation in mining sites by 2015. The company is looking to export the technology to copper mines located in the US, Australia, Mexico, Peru and some African countries, the statement said.

3M is an innovation firm that has transformed new ideas into a wide array of ingenious products, including powerful technologies that improve life. The company operates in over 70 countries, has sales of $31 billion and a workforce of 89,000 people around the globe, the statement said.

Lixivia Executive Director and Founder Alejandro Cartagena said in a statement about the investment, "We consider 3M an important strategic partner known for its continued efforts in developing innovations and as a leader in technology."

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