Canada’s largest diversified miner, Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.B; Nasdaq: TECK) has started trialing Jetti Resources’ proprietary chemical catalyst at its copper assets.
Jetti is a start-up founded in 2014 that has introduced to the industry its eponymous technology, which it says makes it possible to extract copper from low-grade primary sulphides like chalcopyrite, the world’s most abundant copper mineral ore.
The technology is said to have the potential to unlock value in copper resources outside of current mine plans. Jetti applies its catalyst directly to run-of-mine ore, which is proven to cost-effectively and environmentally responsibly increase copper yields.
Jetti will set up a trial operation, transitioning to commercial scale subject to satisfactory results and approvals.
The companies will also measure and assess the environmental benefits of applying the technology to already mined material. The expected benefits include lower water and power consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Teck also agreed to invest in Jetti to accelerate economic benefits for both parties. It will result in more trials and further potential deployments at Teck sites.
“Our focus is on responsibly growing copper production. Jetti’s technology has the potential to support this objective,” Teck’s SVP, base metals, Shehzad Bharmal said in a news release.
Teck is a significant copper producer in the Americas, with four operating copper mines and a pipeline of development projects in North and South America. Copper accounted for about 44% of the company’s profit in 2020.
Teck, newly named to the Forbes Canada’s Best Employers 2022 list for the second year, has about 33 million tonnes of contained copper in the combined reserves and resources categories. Teck has guided for total copper output of 275,000 to 290,000 tonnes in 2021.
In a recent study, market analyst CRU defined Jetti’s total addressable market through to the end of 2050 as 234 million tonnes of contained copper, which Jetti estimates at current copper prices to be worth $2.4 trillion.
Jetti technology was tested in 2020 by Capstone Mining (TSX: CS; US-OTC: CSFFF) at its Pinto Valley mine in Arizona. During the first year of Capstone’s partnership with Jetti, cathode production per area irrigated has doubled, Capstone announced at the time.
Headquartered in Colorado, with offices in Santiago and Vancouver, Jetti is a recipient of the Canadian Government’s Natural Resources Clean Growth Program funding to further research.