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FLSmidth wins prestigious R&D award for Rapid Oxidative Leach technology


COPENHAGEN, DENMARK: FLSmidth wins the global Top 100 R&D award at the R&D 100s for the Rapid Oxidative Leach process (ROL), allowing copper producers with low to mid-grade copper ore to bypass smelting.

For the past 50 years the R&D 100s has been the Who's Who for cutting edge R&D, celebrating the brightest innovations of the year with several thousand contestants from all types of industries. FLSmidth won the global Top 100 for our Rapid Oxidative Leach process. Accompanying us on the winning podium were NASA, Johnson & Johnson, MIT, and several national laboratories like Sandia and Berkeley.

"We are extremely proud to be among the global Top 100 of cutting edge R&D across industries and institutions worldwide. Mining is the oldest existing industry, but we are nevertheless constantly able to rethink processes to get more out of the natural resources. ROL is a potential industry game-changer," says the proud Vice President of R&D in Minerals, Gary Roy, receiving the award in Washington DC.

The ROL technology in 5 bullets

  • Globally copper ore quality is decreasing. Smelting, which is currently the dominant means to produce cathode copper, heavily penalises low grade concentrates for lack of sulphur or impurities.
  • The FLSmidth mechano-chemical ROL process is an alternative route to smelting, as ROL economically dissolves copper from low to mid-grade primary sulphide copper concentrates so it becomes feasible to produce cathode copper from concentrate directly rather than sell the concentrate to a smelter.
  • The FLSmidth ROL process technology enables the leaching of 97-99% copper from mineral concentrates containing as little as 5% copper in less than six hours; a faster and much more simple process that significantly improves the sustainability of existing mines.
  • The process technology thereby enables producers with small or medium deposits, or producers with low grade concentrate, to bypass costly smelting by utilising their existing processing infrastructure. 
  • In addition to primary metal production, the ROL process technology allows for efficient recovery of metals from waste recycle streams and leach residue.
Jette Westerdahl
Senior Communications Advisor
Mobile: +45 3093 1855
Gary Roy
Vice President, R&D, Minerals  
Mobile: +180187 17080


FLSmidth is the market-leading supplier of productivity to the global mining and cement industries. Headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, and with offices in more than 50 countries, FLSmidth delivers engineering, equipment and service solutions to customers worldwide. Productivity, sustainability and quality are focus areas for the 13,000 employees in FLSmidth. The company generated revenue of DKK 20 billion in 2015.