Timna Copper Mines activity during 1958 – 1985
Since its foundation in 1958 and until 1985, Timna Copper mines went through the period of extensive growth. The number of employees reached 950 people. The mines produced up to 1.1 million tons of copper ore per annum. The open pits produced about half of this quantity, while the underground pits supplied the rest. The total quantity of copper cement produced was 16000 tons per annum. The plant facilities included the mines, crushing and wet grinding stations, leaching tanks, sulphuric acid production unit, the thickeners and the copper cement precipitation launders.
Most of the copper cement produced in initial period was exported to custom smelters abroad. In 1971 Timna Copper Mines extended its facilities and the production of copper sulfate from copper cement had been launched. In 1975, copper sulfate plant output was expanded utilizing metallic copper scrap from various sources such as power cables and wires.
In 1978, the operations were extended to include the manufacture of manganese sulfate agricultural grade by a unique process that recovered the minute manganese values present in the copper ore.
Mining operations were terminated in 1985 as a result of copper price reduction and the continuous rise in mining costs, due to the downward inclination and deepening of the ore-body, which rendered further mining uneconomical. The manufacturing of copper cement and manganese sulfate was stopped consequently.
Since 1985, Timna Copper Mines’ facilities have been extended furthermore. An aluminium recycling plant was started up in 1998, utilizing highly pure aluminium scrap from different industries (beverage cans, bore chips, etc.). Basic copper carbonate production has been recently launched in the newly built manufacturing plant (2004). One of the most promising developments is the ammoniacal etchant production/regeneration unit (started up in 2001) that operates in a closed loop and serves Israeli printed circuit board industry. In addition, we keep on manufacturing the high-clean copper sulfate, utilizing metallic copper from reliable secondary raw materials.