The need to improve creates the catalyst for innovation
Keith Liddell is the inventor of the Kell Process, having conceived the concept initially as a treatment route for PGM concentrate from the UG2 reef. Chromite contained in UG2 concentrates presents challenges in smelting, with constraints being placed on the amount of chromite that flotation concentrates can contain reducing flotation recovery. Kell was designed to remove this chromite constraint and it is completely insensitive to chromite. Over the years of development, the Kell Process has been fine tuned through testing and engineering studies to be robust and flexible so that its operating conditions can be integrated to the needs of each concentrate processed. The basic Kell process has been modified to be applicable to polymetallic (Precious and base metals), refractory gold, base metals (Ni,Cu,Co), Lithium and Scandium ores and concentrates.
Intellectual property and ownership
The Kell process is protected by granted patents globally. The patents cover the process across the range of conditions that have been found to give high metal recoveries and across the various types of ores and concentrates that are amenable to the Kell Process. Data exchange and testwork does not commence until end users have signed a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement. Lifezone Ltd (incorporated in Mauritius) is the patent assignee from Keith Liddell and other inventors within the Kell Process team, with Lifezone having the exclusive rights to exploit the patents and technology. KellTech Ltd (incorporated in Mauritius) holds the exclusive license in the SADC region and KellTechnology South Africa (RF) Pty Ltd (incorporated in South Africa) is exclusively sub-licensed for the Kell Process in South Africa. Non-exclusive site-based licenses are available to end users in return for technology fees and production royalties.