Successful Treatment of Complex Feeds through the Isasmelt™ and Albion Process™
Additonal authors: Hogg, B.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
Copper feed materials processing is becoming more challenging, due to an incremental increase in the mineralogical and compositional complexity of these feeds. These complex and polymetallic feeds are now becoming more common and many sites have been forced to re-evaluate their operating strategies to process these materials at cost competitive rates, whilst meeting ever more stringent environmental regulations.
Most operations must first evaluate the merits of pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical treatment routes. Although there are multiple copper smelting technologies available, only top-submerged lance (TSL) technology, supplied by Glencore Technology as ISASMELT™, has been applied in the real world to consistently and successfully smelt complex materials in integrated metallurgical facilities such as Glencore’s Kazzinc Ltd. operation in Kazakhstan, Umicore Precious Metals Refining in Belgium and Aurubis AG in Germany. Glencore Technology also offers hydrometallurgical processing, through the Albion Process™ technology, opening up viable flowsheet options previously not possible for these complex feeds.
This paper describes a number of real world process flowsheets at global operations and Glencore’s own operations at Mount Isa and Kazzinc Ltd., which process complex feeds. These flowsheets integrate the ISASMELT™, Albion Process™, ISACONVERT™, ISAKIDD™ Tank house, and bottom blown oxygen cupel (BBOC™) technologies to provide an effective process solution for the treatment of complex polymetallic feeds to produce metallic copper and associated by-products.
Traditional smelters and those built in recent times within the bulk smelting hubs of the world have been designed to treat standard/clean concentrates. In recent years the processing of complex polymetallic sulfide concentrates and the recycling of secondary copper and derivatives of waste electrical and electronic equipment, such as e-scrap, have become a focus for numerous companies (Alvear & Nikolic, 2013). Processing of these complex feeds, characterized by relatively high levels of minor elements (over 5% of elements such as arsenic, antimony, bismuth, lead and zinc) is more challenging. Facilities not designed for these types of materials may require significant modifications or a change in smelting technology to treat them. Often operations find themselves re-evaluating the merits of pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical treatment routes for their sites through a number of factors:
Copper 2019, COM2019