The 2019 Copper Smelting Survey

Additonal authors: Kapusta, Joël P. T.. 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

Watt, Liam J.

The last extended copper smelting and converting survey dates back to the 2003 International Copper Conference held in Santiago, Chile. The following year, the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society of AIME (TMS) started a new series in its Journal of Metals (JOM) called JOM World Nonferrous Smelters Survey devoting its first Part to Copper. The copper smelting landscape has significantly changed in the past 15 years, both in geographical terms with the shift of copper smelting production from the Americas to China and in technological terms with the growing adoption rate of Top-Submerged Lancing (TSL) technologies and the development and implementation of Bottom-Blowing technologies. A copper smelting survey update, even if not as in-depth as the 2003 Copper Smelting Survey, is therefore in order. The authors will review the latest trends in copper smelting technologies and production worldwide in comparison to the landscape of the early 2000s. INTRODUCTION This 2019 copper smelting survey is different from previous surveys as our data does not originate exclusively from responses to a questionnaire sent to all the copper smelters. Our data comes from several sources. We are therefore very thankful to the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) and Wood Mackenzie for sharing some of their information and to ENFI, Outotec, and Glencore Technologies for helping us cross-check our numbers for the Chinese smelters, flash smelting, Ausmelt, and Isasmelt technologies. Our survey presents data reporting from a total of 96 operating copper smelters from around the globe, which is significantly higher than the 50 surveyed in 2003. Although secondary smelting numbers have steadily increased over time, this paper focuses on primary smelting operations with copper concentrate as feed material. The list in this survey is still far from complete, with missing information from several known smelting operations. The total primary copper production tonnage of the smelters we surveyed amounts to 18.3 million metric tonnes from 29 countries representing 92% and 94% of total world primary production for 2018 estimated by ICSG and Wood Mackenzie, respectively. This representation has increased from 2003 when the total was 9.71 million metric tonnes from 23 countries accounting for 73% of world production. The trends presented and analyzed within this paper have stronger significance because of the increase in production accounted for. The Chinese and Russian smelter information collected is more detailed than years past. Our complete dataset is summarized in Table 1 at the end of our paper.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019