One of the largest structures on the site is the autoclave. Wet material that has had the copper, silver and gold removed in a previous process is dried and roasted at 400˚F and under 400 lb per sq in. of pressure. Heat from the autoclave process is recovered for use in the crystallizers, which ultimately convert the molybdenum into a usable form.
The facility will use six crystallizers custom made for the process by Jacobs. Two of the 56-ft-long, 19-ft-wide crystallizers recently arrived at the site by truck. The autoclave and patented hydrometallurgical process will use up to 1,800 gallons of water a minute, says Brendan Ryan, vice president of projects and expansion for KUC.
In addition to processing the material, the MAP will include storage and packaging facilities and a loading dock to ship processed material directly from the site.
Kennecott is also building a cogeneration steam and power system. A turbine engine powered by natural gas produces heat for steam and generates 6.2 MW of power for use on site.
The MAP facility will be completed in two phases, Ryan says. "The plan is for the first phase to be complete in the second quarter of 2014, with Phase 2 completed in the fourth quarter. It is all timed to work with our mine production," he says. "Phase 1 will produce 30 million pounds of molybdenum and rhenium, and Phase 2 will add 30 million more."
Ryan says there are currently about 400 workers on site. Work for all trades will peak this summer at about 600. When complete, the MAP facility will employ about 70 workers, he says.