When to Choose Direct to Blister Smelting Process

Additonal authors: Kho, T S. 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

West, R C

In 1978, the Outotec direct to blister flash (DBF) smelting process was commercialized with the commissioning of the Glogow 2 smelting facility in Poland. Since then four further DBF facilities have been constructed, two at Olympic Dam, one in Zambia and most recently one at Glogow 1 in Poland. The DBF smelting process differs considerably from conventional smelting process in both chemistry and unit operations, presenting opportunities for flowsheet capital and operating cost savings particularly when the concentrate copper grade is high. WorleyParsons has amassed considerable expertise in the Direct to Blister process and in this paper the process is compared to the modern two stage Double Flash process. The processes are modeled, and the key operating parameters, consumables and production metrics are directly compared. Subsequent flowsheets, key equipment lists and capital costs are also presented for comparison and discussion. The results show the range of concentrates which are most economically treated by the DBF process relative to those best treated in conventional processes along with those concentrates which could be treated by either process. INTRODUCTION The Outotec Direct to Blister (DBF) process was developed and installed at Glogow in 1978 (Czernecki et al., 2006). Currently there are a total of five DBFs built on three sites: Glogow No.2, Olympic Dam No.1, Olympic Dam No.2, KCM Zambia and Glogow No.1, being the most recently constructed. The DBF process was the first flash furnace process to produce blister copper and paved the way for the subsequent development of the flash converter and other continuous converting processes. Today four flash converters are in operation taking the total number of flash furnaces producing blister copper to eight. In all DBF operations it is the unique ore and concentrate composition which made selection of the DBF process the most attractive. In all cases, the concentrate is relatively high in copper but low in iron because chalcopyrite is not the major constituent. When considering smelting options for high copper, low iron concentrates a key question is then often asked, “At what point does it become economic to switch from two stage smelting and converting process to the DBF process?”
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019