Environmental Emissions Management at the La Caridad Copper Smelter

Additonal authors: Safe, Paykan. 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

Brosig, D.

The La Caridad copper smelter, located in Nacozari, Mexico, have started a multi-year plan to reduce sulfur dioxide and particulate matter emissions into the environment. In 2014 the smelter completed a voluntary plant-wide SO2 process emissions inventory as part of the smelter’s proactive environmental stewardship policy. In turn, this triggered the development of several environmental projects to alleviate these emissions. A strategy consisting of improved capture efficiency of the sources with greatest impact has been followed to maximize cost-effectiveness. The reduction of secondary emissions from the Teniente Converter, as well as of primary and secondary emissions from the Peirce-Smith Converters have been key areas of priority. Additionally, a new system to capture and recover particulate matter from the Anode Refining Furnaces off-gas is also in the process of being implemented. This paper presents an overview of the work developed behind this effort and the smelter’s vision towards a greener future. INTRODUCTION The La Caridad copper smelter is owned and operated by Metalurgica de Cobre S.A. de C.V. (a subsidiary of Grupo Mexico). Currently, the smelter has a production capacity of 300,000 tonnes of anodic copper per year. The smelter is coupled with a 300,000 t/y electrolytic refinery. Other by-products (such as precious metals and sulfuric acid) are also generated as part of an integrated process. The original smelter started operating in 1986 with one Furukawa concentrate dryer, one Outokumpu Flash Smelting Furnace (FSF), two slag cleaning electric furnaces (SCFs), three Peirce-Smith Converters (PSCs), two Anode Refining Furnaces (ARFs) and one casting wheel. In 1997, a plant expansion project was concluded with the installation of one steam dryer, one Modified Teniente Converter (MTC), one additional ARF, one additional casting wheel, and the electrolytic refinery [1]. Over the years, the smelter management has implemented numerous environmental projects to alleviate SO2 and particulate matter (PM) emissions. The smelter process gas handling system captures the process gases from the FSF, MTC, and the three PSCs. The process gases are cleaned and conditioned and sent to the two acid plants. The first acid plant (with a capacity of 226,000 Nm3/h, wet basis) was commissioned in 1988 to process the FSF and PSC off-gases. A second acid plant (with a capacity of 195,000 Nm3/h, wet basis) was commissioned as part of the smelter expansion project [1]. The PSCs also have a secondary gas handling system with a dedicated baghouse and stack. The Furukawa dryer off-gas reports to a dedicated electrostatic precipitator (ESP) for dedusting before venting via a local stack. Process gas from the two SCFs, along with hygiene ventilation from various sources inside the smelter (including matte and slag tapping hoods from the FSF) report to a baghouse-based gas handling system and vent to atmosphere via a local stack. The original ARFs do not have an off-gas handling system, however, each ARF has a post- combustion chamber which naturally vents the process gases to the atmosphere via a dedicated stack.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019
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