Additonal authors: . Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:
The development of pyrometallurgical technologies has been focused on new smelting reactors, but the proposal for new converting reactors has been substantially lower. Up to today about 80% of copper matte is treated by the traditional P-S converters which have the weakness of pollutant fugitive emissions. Therefore, the continuously converting processes for treating molten matte have been studied and developed. In July 2017 the "oxygen-rich side blowing smelting + multi-lances top converting & fire refining" continuous copper treating process was commissioned. This process was designed by ENFI and YanTai GuoRun Copper Smelter. In this process, oxygen rich side blow technology is adopted for smelting, which is a new type of side blowing smelting furnace to produce high-grade copper matte. The converting adopts the horizontal multi-lances top-blowing continuously converting process, which eliminates the transportation of molten melt and the SO2 fugitive emission. The intermediate products of this process, copper matte and blister copper is fed into the furnaces respectively through launders. This new process is more advanced, more reliable and more environmentally friendly. Until now, this process in the GuoRun copper smelter is operating smoothly. An increasing number of projects which use this process are under design and construction in China.
At present, there are many advanced smelting technologies for copper concentrate, such as oxygen bottom blowing smelting, flash smelting, top lance smelting (including ISA and Ausmelt furnaces smelting), side blowing smelting, Mitsubishi smelting, etc. At the same time, there are many copper matte converting technologies such as oxygen bottom blowing continuous converting, flash converting, Ausmelt top lance converting, horizontal multi-lances top blowing converting, Mitsubishi converting, P-S converter converting, etc. The final blister copper fire refining technology mostly adopts rotary anode furnace. Therefore, in the process of processing and extracting the copper from concentrate to produce anodes, there are dozens of technology combinations. Among them, the non-continuous converting technologies for molten or cold matte are often adopted in the converting process. The traditional P-S converting technology had been utilized for over one hundred years, with a mature, reliable and simple operation, also has advantages in the secondary scrap smelting of a wide range of quality. However, due to its batch operation, frequent roll in and out, poor sealing, considerable air infiltration, needs for ladles for molten phases transportation and other characteristics, the technology has a serious pollution problem due to fugitive SO2. At the same time, in the cold matte converting technology, the molten matte needs to be cooled and then processed. The sensible heat of the molten matte cannot be recovered, and the preparation process is needed in the process. Therefore, both energy consumption and investment are relatively higher.