Recent Progress of the “O-SR Process” Technology

Additonal authors: Ueda, I.. 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

Nagata, T.

“O-SR process” in which the S-Furnace of the Mitsubishi process is followed by existing reverberatory furnaces (RFs) and Peirce Smith (PS) converters has been operated since December 2007. The S-Furnace smelts copper concentrates to produce molten matte containing 58-62%Cu which is then settled in the RFs and converted to blister copper in the PS converters. The SO2 gas generated from the S-Furnace and PS converters is converted to sulfuric acid in the acid plants. In addition to the smelting copper concentrates, the O-SR process has advantages in terms of recycling various waste/secondary materials. Automotive Shredder Residue (ASR) has been treated in the RF to reduce fossil-fuel consumption in RFs, and to recover various metals included in ASR as well, since 1993. Electronic circuit boards (E-scrap) has also been processed in order to recover not only copper but also rare resources such as gold, silver and PGMs since 2013. Strategic modifications have enabled expansion of the processing volume of E-scrap. Enhancing recycling of wastes and scraps from urban mines while reducing the consumption of natural resources in the “O-SR” process will be demonstrated and discussed in the present paper. INTRODUCTION Onahama smelter and refinery has been operating as a custom smelter since 1965. Smelting facilities were subsequently expanded to two green-charged RF furnaces and five PS converters in 1973. Since RF is a conventional old-fashioned smelting furnace that necessarily consumes a huge amount of fuel to smelt copper concentrates, saving fuel cost has been an important objective. In early 1980’s the fuel was changed from bunker oil to pulverized coal, while utilizing the combustion heat of waste tires. Furthermore, treatment of combustible waste such as shredder residue (SR) was initiated in order to save fossil fuel for smelting concentrates in the RFs. Since enhancing of the treatment of SR requires a reduction in concentrate smelted in the RFs, most concentrates were dried and injected through tuyeres into the PS.converters. These modifications enabled to reduce the amount of the pulverized coal combustion and to increase SR treatment in the RFs. SR treatment capacity has increased to 12,000mt/month because the SR market has grown after the enforcement of the Vehicles Recycling Law. Such business environment has been attributed to establish the thermal-materials recycling system of SR in which the RFs have changed their role from copper concentrates smelting furnaces to waste materials combustion furnaces.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019