Direct blister flash smelting

Outotec® Direct Blister Flash Smelting Process is the only proven technology available for the production of blister copper in one signle stage. It is recognized for its straightforward process flow, ease of use and excellent environmental performance. Compared to the conventional copper-smelting route, the Direct Blister Flash Smelting Process provides several advantages:

  • High recovery of copper and other valuable metals Outotec® Direct Blister Flash Smelting Process
  • Low investment and operating costs for the smelter and acid plant
  • No converting process required
  • High sulfur recovery, only one continuous high strength SO2 stream to the acid plant
  • Improved in-plant hygiene, compact equipment, no ladle transportation of molten material


This unique process is the most profitable option for sulfidic copper concentrates containing 30% or more copper. Outotec® Direct Blister Flash Smelting is the only industrially proven direct blister technology.

Process overview

Outotec® Direct Blister Flash Smelting plant in Chingola, ZambiaIn the Direct Blister process, the copper concentrate is smelted directly in one step to produce blister copper without converting. The dried feed material and oxygen-enriched process air are delivered to the Outotec® Flash Furnace through the concentrate burner providing a rapidly reacting suspension in the reaction shaft. Molten phases are collected in the settler where slag and blister form separate layers. Furnace off-gases are cooled down in a heat recovery boiler, which also collects part of the dust load. The rest of the particulates are captured in an electrostatic precipitator. Normally all dust is recycled back into the furnace.

Depending on selected slag chemistry and oxidation potential, Blister Flash Smelting slag contains 15 - 25% copper. In Direct Blister smelting, the electric Slag Cleaning Furnace is the standard method for slag treatment. If slag reduction is done in one step, the blister obtained contains some iron. Slag cleaning in an electric furnace can also be done in two steps. This is needed, for example, in cases where some valuable metals like cobalt or nickel must be recovered from the slag. Another two-step approach is to use the Slag Concentrator after the first partial reduction step in an electric furnace. The selected slag cleaning concept is mainly dependent on raw material bases. Owing to the special features of concentrates, all the DB Furnace applications differ from each other as do slag cleaning systems.

Outotec® Direct Blister Flash Smelting plant in Olympic Dam, AustraliaSulfur is recovered from high-SO2 off-gases at the acid plant. One main advantage in Blister Flash Smelting is that there is a continuous off-gas flow with constant, SO2 -rich content. Melt transfer using ladles is minimized in anode furnace operations, as separate converting is not needed. Also, the troublesome fugitive emissions from Peirce-Smith converting aisle are omitted.

 

The integrated production chain and compact equipment of Outotec® Direct Blister Flash Smelting Process result in high sulfur recovery with only one continuous high strength SO2 stream to the acid plant, improved in-plant hygiene, low dust emissions, and safe operation with no ladle transportation of molten materials.

Outotec® Direct Blister Flash Smelting Process produces copper efficiently with low energy consumption and with low equivalent carbon dioxide emissions. Only a small amount of fossil fuel is needed and thus the direct greenhouse gas emissions of the smelter are small compared to conventional processes, where fossil fuels are used for smelting. In Direct Blister Flash Smelting, the smelting takes place in a closed furnace from which it is possible to collect all the gases effectively in the acid plant in a continuous gas stream. Heat recovered from process off-gases can be used in other process sections or for electricity generation, reducing the need for additional power plants and minimizing green house gas emissions.

In Direct Blister Flash Smelting, the process flue dust is recovered efficiently from the heat recovery boiler and electrostatic precipitator and is normally circulated back to the furnace, so no dust is emitted into the atmosphere nor accumulated at the plant as a result of the process.

The slag is in stable form and is not considered to cause any environmental emissions, even when these byproducts are used in road construction or in other land filling applications.

Related process equipment

  • Outotec® Flash Furnace
  • Outotec® Slag Cleaning Furnace
  • Outotec® Cooling System
  • Outotec® Cooling Elements
  • Outotec® Feeding System
  • Outotec® Air Slide
  • Outotec® Concentrate and Matte Burner
  • Outotec® Auxiliary Burners
  • Outotec® Drying and Homogenisation
  • Outotec® Anode Furnace
  • Outotec® Granulation
  • Outotec® Launders
  • Outotec® Heat Recover Boiler

 

Control system products

  • Outotec® Furnace Monitoring
  • Outotec® Advisor
  • Outotec® Process Automation
  • Outotec® Sentinel

Full integration of process and automation design and knowledge is vitally important to ensure a smooth and optimized process operation, minimized risks of production ramp-up delays and downtime periods and to guarantee high health, environment and safety standards.

It is important in the automation of smelting processes to include the ability to identify disturbances, stabilize the process and to gain an overall picture of production. Balances between departments involved in operations, from the blending of different raw materials to casting, are difficult to see and control, mainly due to long delays. Outotec® Automation System provides a long and short-term view of all of these processes.

For the pyrometallurgical processes, maintaining stable process by long-term production planning and proactive identification and elimination of disturbances is key to success, for which Outotec® Automation System is the answer. Outotec has several decades of experience in the incorporation of metallurgical process and control expertise into a package that favours the everyday work of customers. Outotec Proscon® Pyro enables not only constant and smooth management, monitoring and control of the process but also provides the most cost efficient tools and environment to further develop, optimize and maximize the process performance, maintenance and operability. These benefits are gained with high equipment performance and efficiency, ease of operation and maintenance, low consumption of utilities and consumables, fast discovery of factors causing disturbances and a high and traceable quality of production.

The lifecycle of the Outotec Proscon® delivery does not end with commissioning. Outotec can provide a productive long-term partnership, by training customers’ personnel to take care of the routine maintenance activities of process control and by providing remote support “virtually on-site”. With Outotec Proscon®, the customer can achieve a cost-effective way to ensure the long-term availability of process control and also to develop an ability to carry out cost-effective consultation in the analysis and optimization of process performance together with Outotec.

Proscon® Pyro is the best way to transfer our metallurgical know-how and experience to our customers. The solution includes a modern process control system, based on world-class automation systems and components, process instrumentation and process electrification with the required services. The provision of automation, process design and project management from a single organization removes expensive and restrictive interfaces during implementation. Through our remote diagnostic online service, Outotec's metallurgical and automation expertise is available throughout all stages of the production life cycle.

Outotec® On-line Process Advisor enables on-line and easy dynamic mass and heat balance modeling for the Outotec® Flash Smelting Furnace and electric Slag Cleaning Furnaces. The On-line Process Advisor calculates new operating parameters from the current operating data for the furnace, and transfers information between the process control model, the process control system and the laboratory on-line. The On-line Process Advisor includes an easy-to- use user interface and process flow-sheet printing options.

Outotec® Smelter Information Management System (SIMS) is a new and modern platform for data collection, reporting and management, assisting in the integration of machines, monitoring and process control. Significant benefits are gained in increasing the energy efficiency, product quality and tracing as well as improving maintenance and safety.

Benefits of Outotec Proscon® Pyro

  • Link between process know-how and automation
  • Process operated as designed
  • Rapid production ramp-up
  • Continuous and stable process
  • Maximized metal recoveries and minimized metal losses
  • Integration process, machinery and maintenance information
  • Automation system pre-tested before installation at plant
  • Smooth equipment performance
  • Safety of operation, equipment and personnel
  • Easy and convenient operation
  • Possibility for remote diagnostic services

Automation products by Outotec:

  • Outotec Proscon® Pyro
  • Process control system
  • Process instrumentation
  • Process electrification
  • Outotec® On-line Process Advisor
  • Outotec® Smelter Information Management System
  • Advanced reporting of quality, efficiency and machinery

 

Customer

Location

Type

Start-up

Rudarsko Topioicarski Basen (RTB)

Bor, Serbia Cu Smelting 2013

Jinchuan Non-ferrous Metals Co

Fangchenggang, China Cu Smelting 2012

Jinchuan Non-ferrous Metals Co

Fangchenggang, China Cu Converting 2012

Zijin Copper Co.Ltd.

Shanghang, China

Cu Smelting

2011

Tongling Non-Ferrous Metals Group Co.Ltd. 

China

Cu Smelting

2011

Tongling Non-Ferrous Metals Group Co.Ltd.

China

Cu Converting

2011

National Iranian Copper Industries

Sarcheshmeh, Iran

Cu Smelting

 

Konkola Copper Mines Plc.

Chingola, Zambia

Direct to Blister

2008

Jiangxi Copper Corporation

Guixi, China

Cu Smelting

2007

KGHM Polska Miedz S.A.

Glogow, Poland

Direct to Blister

 

Yanggu Xiangguang Copper Co.

Yanggu Xiangguang, China

Cu Converting

2007

Yanggu Xiangguang Copper Co.

Yanggu Xiangguang, China

Cu Smelting

2007

National Iranian Copper Industries

Khatoon Abad, Iran

Cu Smelting

2004

(Southern Peru Copper Corporation)

(Ilo, Peru)

(Cu converting)

 

(Southern Peru Copper Corporation)

(Ilo, Peru)

(Cu smelting)

 

Boliden Mineral AB

Rönnskär, Sweden

Cu Smelting

2000

Western Mining Corporation

Olympic Dam, Australia

Cu Smelting

1999

Mineração Serra da Fortaleza

Fortaleza, Brazil 

Ni Smelting

1998

Indo-Gulf Fertilisers & Chemical

Gujarat, India

Cu Smelting

1998

Jinlong Copper

Tongling, China

Cu Smelting

1997

Kennecott Utah Copper

Salt Lake City, USA

Cu Converting

1995

Kennecott Utah Copper

Salt Lake City, USA

Cu Smelting

1995

Cia Minera Disputada de las Condes

Chagres, Chile

Cu Smelting

1995

Jinchuan Non-ferrous Metals

Jinchang, China

Ni Smelting

1992

Western Mining Corporation

Olympic Dam, Australia 

Cu Smelting

1988

Magma Copper Company

San Manuel, USA

Cu Smelting

1988

Codelco

Chuquicamata, Chile

Cu Smelting

1988

Umicore

Srednogorie, Bulgaria

Cu Smelting

1987

Mexicana de Cobre

El Tajo, Mexico

Cu Smelting

1986

Jiangxi Copper

Guixi, China

Cu Smelting

1985

Philippine Associated Smelting & Refining

Isabel, the Philippines

Cu Smelting

1983

Caraíba Metais

Camacari, Brazil

Cu Smelting

1982

Norilsk Mining & Metallurgical Co

Norilsk, Russia

Cu Smelting

1981

Norilsk Mining & Metallurgical Co

Norilsk, Russia

Ni Smelting

1981

LG-Metal Corporation 

Onsan, South Korea

Cu Smelting

1979

Kombinat Górniczo-Hutniczy Miedz

Glogow, Poland

Cu Smelting

1978

Gécamines

Luilu, Zaire

Cu Smelting

 

Phelps Dodge

Playas, USA

Cu Smelting

1976

Atlantic Copper

Huelva, Spain

Cu Smelting

1975

Hindustan Copper

Khetri, India

Cu Smelting

1974

Bamangwato Concessions Ltd

Selebi-Phikwe, Botswana

Ni Smelting

1973

Peko Wallsend Metals

Tennant Creek, Australia

Cu Smelting

1973

Karadeniz Bakir Isletmeleri

Samsun, Turkey

Cu Smelting

1973

Nippon Mining

Saganoseki, Japan

Cu Smelting

1972

Western Mining Corporation

 Kalgoorlie, Australia

Ni Smelting

1972

Nippon Mining

Hitachi, Japan 

Cu Smelting

1972

Norddeutsche Affinerie AG

Hamburg, Germany

Cu Smelting

1972

Hibi Kyodo Smelting

Tamano, Japan

Cu Smelting

1972

Peko Wallsend Metals

Mount Morgan, Australia

Cu Smelting

1972

Hindustan Copper

Ghatsila, India

Cu smelting

1971

Sumitomo Metal Mining

Toyo, Japan

Cu Smelting

1971

Nippon Mining

Saganoseki, Japan

Cu Smelting

1970

Dowa Mining

Kosaka, Japan

Cu Smelting

1967

Combinatul Chimico Metalurgic

 Baia Mare, Romania

Cu Smelting

1966

Outokumpu Oy

Kokkola, Finland

Pyrite Smelting

1962

Furukawa

Ashio, Japan

Cu Smelting

1956

Outokumpu Oy

Harjavalta, Finland

Ni Smelting

1959

Outokumpu Oy

Harjavalta, Finland

Cu Smelting

1949