Electrolytic Refining of High Ni Copper Anode at the Tank House in Naoshima Smelter and Refinery

Additonal authors: Yamashita, Takashi. 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

Ikemoto, Takashi

The expansion project in Naoshima smelter and refinery to meet enhancing recycling business of E-scrap was successfully completed in 2016 to have a capacity of 110,000 tpa of E-scrap treatment. Increasing treatment of E-scrap has raised the Ni content of copper anode to 4000 ppm on average, which is double the level of 10 years ago, and to 6000 ppm or more occasionally. The tank house has refined such copper anode to copper cathode with starter sheets. Since most Ni in Copper anode dissolves in copper electrolyte, the Ni content of the electrolyte has increased to 27 g/L and more. Ni accumulated in the electrolyte has increased power consumption during the electrolytic refining of copper, although cathode quality has been controlled satisfactory so far. In order to ensure sustainable operation while growing E- scrap business, the NiSO4 process has been expanded recently so as to recover Ni in the electrolyte more and the pressurized-leaching technology will be introduced to the slime leaching process so as to enhance the capacity of slime treatment and to improve Ni recovery in the near future. INTRODUCTION In recent years, the treatment amount of E-scrap at Naoshima smelter and refinery has increased according to the growth of its recycling business as shown in Figure 1, while impurities from E-scrap have concentrated in copper anode as well. Especially, Ni content in anode has been increasing remarkably since 2012, causing to raise Ni content in the electrolyte as shown in Figure 2. The increment of Ni content in copper anode and electrolyte has adversely affected the electrorefining process, slime leaching process, and NiSO4 crystallization process at the tank house. Such severe conditions provided opportunities to redesign the tank house to establish a robust process to which more Ni is acceptable.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019