Effect of Mineralogy on the Flash Combustion of Concentrates

Additonal authors: Lebel, T.. 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

Davis, B. R.

A drop tower and methodology were developed to study the impact of mineralogy on the flash combustion behaviour of copper concentrates. Reaction shaft conditions of a flash furnace were simulated using a drop tower reactor and different molar ratios of oxygen gas to sulphur in the feed. Five feeds were tested in the drop tower including pure minerals chalcopyrite and pyrite as well as two mineralogically distinct copper concentrates and a blend of the two. The behaviour of each of these five feeds were evaluated through analysis of the solid combustion products for elemental sulphur, mineralogy and particle size. Desulphurization curves for each of the feeds were produced. It is thought that the desulphurization behaviour of pure minerals can be used to estimate the behaviour of a concentrate and that a blending recipe could be developed, which can optimize the chemical and mineralogical inputs to the flash furnace and guide operations on the optimum furnace conditions. Overall, the drop tower has proven to be a useful tool for studying flash combustion processes. Experimental results suggest that mineralogy has a significant impact on the conditions required for the production of matte with consistent grade. This finding is especially significant for custom smelters, which may see several different blends in a day. INTRODUCTION Flash furnace smelting is a continuous feed, batch tap, pyrometallurgical process that is used to produce copper matte from copper sulphide concentrates. Dried concentrate(s), silica flux, and secondary materials are blended to a target chemical composition, typically given by the Cu/S ratio, before processing. This fine, dried feed is dispersed throughout the heated furnace reaction shaft with an O2-enriched reaction gas. The particles heat up in the shaft of the furnace, ignite and undergo reactions that pre-oxidize the iron sulphide and some of the impurities in the feed. Oxidation reactions in the shaft of the furnace desulphurize the feed and produce an SO2-containing off gas. The reacted particles fall into the furnace settler and separate into a Cu-rich matte and an iron-silicate slag, while the SO2-containing off gas is carried out of the furnace for heat and dust recovery, as well as H2SO4 production. Some concerns during operation of the furnace are dusting, over or under oxidation of the feed, and a stable flame.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019