Materials for Design and Construction of Hydrometallurgical Equipment

Additonal authors: Bennett, J.. 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

Lambrych, K.

Hydrometallurgical equipment used to extract and refine copper and other metals is exposed to extremely corrosive chemical environments. These systems must be fabricated from materials that are durable against corrosion, meet exacting mechanical requirements, and perform economically over the life of the mineral processing plant. In several recent large hydromet projects, fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) has been shown to provide equal if not superior durability relative to alternative materials of construction. This paper will compare corrosion performance and cost of plant equipment fabricated with corrosion resistant alloys, rubber lined steel, and FRP made with Epoxy Vinyl Ester thermoset resins. Case histories for FRP piping, storage tanks, extraction vessels, and electrowinning cells combined with laboratory-based corrosion studies will be reviewed to demonstrate how FRP materials are selected for hydrometallurgical equipment. Specific examples from projects such as El Boleo, Long Harbour and others will be used to demonstrate how the versatility of FRP allows for remote fabrication of durable corrosion-resistant large-scale equipment for hydrometallurgical refinement of copper and other metals. INTRODUCTION Fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) began to emerge as a material of construction for corrosion service in many industrial processes in the late 1950s because of its ease of use and overall performance. Corrosion resistant (CR) FRP, as an alternative construction material to alloys, rubber and tile linings, grew steadily in following decades. The aggressive operating conditions associated with hydrometallurgical processes typically require materials of construction that can withstand acids and acid chlorides at temperatures up to 90°C, sometimes higher. Common metallic materials of construction, such as carbon steel, are not compatible with these conditions. High nickel alloys are capable of meeting performance requirements, but often at a high cost. In many cases FRP mining equipment based on epoxy vinyl ester resin (EVER) offers durability, long service life and lower maintenance costs. Through demonstrated performance and decades of case histories, more and more design engineers are confidently specifying FRP as the material of construction for new mineral processing equipment.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019