Outotec® Flash Smelting Technology Development
Additonal authors: Björklund, Peter. 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
Outotec is continuously developing our existing process equipment and new equipment solutions to enhance the Flash Smelting process. Thanks to the long operating history of the Outotec Flash Smelting process feedback from the numerous operating references are available and is utilized. The general goals for development work are to improve equipment performance, thus realizing savings in Smelter plant operation costs by increasing the process efficiency and online availability. Digitalization also opens new possibilities for the feeding equipment and furnace operation monitoring. These solutions will improve the safety and performance of the smelter, and provide process and equipment related information which has not been available earlier.
The year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of Flash Smelting. The technology was operated on industrial scale for the first time at the Outokumpu Harjavalta copper smelter in Finland in 1949. The Flash Smelting technology, is now owned and developed by Outotec Oyj and the first plant, is now owned by Boliden Harjavalta Oy. The two companies have been evolving throughout history by optimizing the process for various feeds and raw-materials, as well as through developing the equipment and operating practices. Even though sustainability was not a hot theme/topic during the first days of Flash Smelting, it has nevertheless been the key principle in guiding the development. This is well proven by the wide adoption of Flash Smelting for the processing of copper and nickel concentrates, mostly due to its ability to fulfil the economic and resource efficiency criteria demanded by its operators. Along with the process technology development, also development of the equipment has taken place over time.
Outotec is continuously working on developing our equipment to better suit the changing need of our customers in the continuously changing operational environment. Orebodies are getting more challenging with lower ore grades and more impurities. Achieving high recoveries for all valuable elements becomes more difficult with high slag quantities and with the need to tackle the high impurity concentrations. There is a need for higher capacities in greenfield and brownfield smelters. The role of the Loss-in-Weight Feeder, the Air Slide and Concentrate Burner is to ensure even feed into the reaction shaft of the Flash Smelting Furnace, and to enable controlling the process well, thereby enabling the best performance for the customers smelter. The design of the Flash Smelting Furnace aims for high availability, long campaign and safe operation.
Copper 2019, COM2019