Chilean copper mining technology start-up Ceibo has received $30m (23.91m pesos) of funding from its latest round of financing. The company said in a press statement it will use the money to “accelerate the scale-up of its proprietary [copper leaching] technology, drive several on-site trials, and facilitate the construction of a demonstration plant”.
Ceibo’s novel technology aims to make copper mining more sustainable by increasing the efficiency of ore leaching and reducing waste. Ceibo believes it can achieve 70–75% efficiency, up from 20% efficiency for traditional leaching methods,. It focuses on the extraction of copper from ores such as chalcopyrite.
Found deeper in the ground than more commonly used ores, chalcopyrite is less efficient to extract with traditional leaching techniques, making it economically challenging. This is in spite of the fact that Ceibo estimates 70% of the world’s copper reserves are in primary sulfides such as chalcopyrite.
Ceibo says its process can use existing mine infrastructure with a lower carbon footprint than other leaching techniques. The company also states the economic viability of its novel process is that it can be conducted on site at mines.
“Following positive results from a lengthy validation process using minerals from leading copper companies, we’re now poised to rapidly scale our technology,” said Ceibo founder and CEO Cristóbal Undurraga in a statement.
Undurraga continued: “This capital raise, together with the strategic support from investors experienced in scaling clean, industrial and mining technologies, will help us accelerate plans to deploy our technology globally.”
Ceibo is based in Chile, the world’s largest copper producer. The country is striving to use its state-owned copper industry to profit from the metal’s vital role in the energy transition. Despite a recent lull in copper production, the country expects to rebound.