Alexander Mining subsidiary MetaLeach has secured a patent in Australia for a method for recovering cobalt from cobalt-containing ores.
Forming part of MetaLeach’s family of core AmmLeach technologies, the patent 2013202009 has a standard term of 20 years from the effective date of 26 March 2013.
Alexander Mining chief executive officer Martin Rosser said: "Cobalt is a core target metal for the commercialisation of our intellectual property.
"This Australian patent is complementary to the AmmLeach and HyperLeach suites of patents.
"The primary target is the tailings from the processing of copper-cobalt ores from which the copper has been extracted."
According to the company, such tailings are common in Zambia, as well as Congo due to the difficulties of extracting cobalt and copper when using processes that are acid-based.
The patented process is said to consist of an oxidised cobalt-containing ore pre-treatment step, which is simple to follow.
The ore will then be washed to recover the valuable metal product.
Operating at ambient pressure and temperature, the process requires less capital and has lower operating costs compared with existing treatment processes.
The process will also result in the reduction of overall losses, while improving recoveries.