One Hundred Years of Electrolytic Copper Production in Finland

Additonal authors: Forsén, O.. 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

Aromaa, J.

The history of electrolytic copper production in Finland is closely connected with the industrialization of Finland and events of the Second World War. Production of cathode copper by electrowinning from the processing of Outokumpu ore started in 1913 based on the Hybinette nickel process, however due to the poor performance of this process, the plant was closed in 1929. Outokumpu commenced copper smelting at Imatra in eastern Finland in 1936 producing blister copper for refining outside the country. Due to the threating military situation, a new electrolytic copper refinery was built in 1941 at Pori in western Finland to refine the anodes. This was the first electrolytic copper refinery in Finland. It was built with 108 cells having a capacity of 12,000 tonnes/y. In addition, the smelter was relocated to nearby Harjavalta in 1944–1945. To fulfill the war reparations included in the peace treaty with the Soviet Union, a doubling of the smelter capacity was realised, with the Pori refinery capacity increasing to 20,000 tonnes/y in 1946 by adding additional cells. The cornerstone of Finnish metallurgical technology — Outokumpu flash smelting — was invented with the new technology commissioned at Harjavalta in 1949 replacing the electric furnace and providing a further increase in copper output with subsequent enlargement of the refinery. By 1963, the plant consisted of 380 cells with a capacity of 48,000 tonnes/y of cathode copper. The Pori electrolytic copper refinery has operated continuously since 1941. Commencing in 2004 the Pori refinery has been part of the Boliden group of Sweden. The most recent plant upgrade was in 2007 with the installation of permanent cathode technology. In 2017, the production of the Pori refinery was 133,000 tonnes of copper cathode, 2,300 tonnes of nickel sulphate, along with 66 tonnes of silver and 4.6 tonnes of gold. This paper describes these outstanding achievements. INTRODUCTION In 1809 the Kingdom of Sweden was defeated by the Russian Empire in the Finnish War, and Finland was annexed by the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. Finland’s commercial and industrial interests were developed to serve the Empire’s needs. Finland had raw materials, but at the start of the 20th century Finnish industry was based on the use of wood as raw material and agricultural products. The mining industry was only a few percent of the country’s industrial production.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019