A System, Apparatus, And Process For Leaching Metal And Storing Thermal Energy During Metal Extraction

Case ID:

Researchers at the University of Arizona have developed a new single vessel or “one pot” copper electrorefinery process that utilizes a molten chloride salt (NaCl – KCl – ZnCl2) as both the extracting fluid and electrolyte.


Several European and South American cities have regulated or banned traditional precious metal extraction due to the use of toxic reagents like sulfuric acid and cyanide. This new single vessel electrorefinery process can fulfill the need for an environmentally, nontoxic alternative to precious metal extraction.


  • Copper mining
  • Precious metal mining (gold, silver)
  • Green mining
  • Extraction of precious metals from electronic waste (circuit boards, etc.)



  • Highly efficient
  • Effective on both copper concentrate and slag (typically deemed as too difficult to refine)
  • Economical
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Nontoxic alternative to tradition precious metal extraction
  • Can be a “one pot” or single container process
  • Molten salt is recyclable and low in cost (<$1 per kilogram)

Status: issued U.S. patents #10,907,238 and #11,390,933

Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Tariq Ahmed
Sr Licensing Manager, College of Engineering
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Dominic Gervasio
Hassan Elsentriecy
Abraham Jalbout
Andres Godinez-Garcia