Challenges in Pneumatic Conveying of Concentrate and Flue Dust at Copper Smelters

Additonal authors: Jahila, R.. Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:

Proceedings, Vol. Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019, 2019

Talja, J. J.

Kopar Oy is acknowledged for engineering and manufacturing of robust systems for bulk material handling, especially at power plants and non-ferrous smelters. We have over thirty years of experience with systems specifically designed for hot and abrasive conditions, aiming at low cost of ownership, low operational expenses and high availability. Although Kopar has numerous applications in mechanical conveying, there is an increasing number of pneumatic conveying applications at copper smelters. They relate to conveying of concentrate, and primary and secondary flue dusts. Challenges of pneumatic conveying for concentrate are mechanical and do relate to broad particle size distribution and high abrasivity of the concentrate and the silica. Therefore, special attention shall be paid to system design and ceramically lined bends in the pipeline. Challenges of pneumatic conveying of primary flue dust relate predominantly to material stickiness and poor flowability which are mainly due to fine particle size and formation of sulphates and furthermore, crystalline water. Additional challenges of secondary dust, the white converter dust, are primarily due to the extremely fine 0.1–1.5 µm particle size and problems which come with this. Effect of material characteristics like size distribution, morphology and chemical composition in pneumatic conveying are discussed in detail. INTRODUCTION Fine materials like concentrate, feed mix, flue dusts (from waste heat boiler and electrostatic precipitator) and secondary dusts need to be conveyed at smelters. Both horizontal and vertical conveying and combination of those are used. For the purpose, both mechanical and pneumatic conveying are applied. Most widely used equipment are drag chain conveyors and various combination of pneumatic systems, e.g. air lift, dense-phase and dilute phase pneumatic conveyors. Kopar has 30 years’ experience with multiple material handling systems. Furthermore, acquired companies like Elmomet Oy and SITE Oy (both currently fully merged and integrated into Kopar Oy) have even longer history, especially in pneumatic conveying. It is commonly known that the finer the dust the more difficult it is to be conveyed pneumatically. Sulfates with crystal water makes it all even more difficult, if not ineligible. Challenges related to pneumatic conveying of various fine materials is discussed in detail in the paper.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019