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Sulphuric Acid on the WebTM Technical Manual DKL Engineering, Inc.

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Acid Plant Database  Decmber 5, 2019

Owner Codelco

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Location Las Ventanas
Background Formerly
- Empresa Nacional de Mineria - ENAMI
Website www.codelco.cl
Plant Las Ventanas
Coordinates 32º 45' 42" S, 71º 28' 49" W
Type of Plant Metallugical
Gas Source Copper
Plant Capacity 1637 MTPD
SA/DA 3/1 DA
Status Operating
Year Built 1989
Technology Hugo Petersen
Contractor MAN Ferrostaal AG, Essen
Remarks Approximate Cost: US$45 million
New Final Absorber Tower - March 2016 (EPC Coppex)
General The initiative of transferring the property of the Ventanas smelter from Enami to Codelco was agreed upon by Government authorities with both companies and its unions, requiring the enactment of Law 19.993 allowing the transfer.

The Ventanas division is located in Ventanas, Puchuncaví district, 164 kilometers from Santiago and 50 kilometers from Viña del Mar, in the northern sector of the Valparaíso province.

Ventanas’ 2006 production reached 376,005 metric tons of electrolytic copper. At the same time, due to the processing of anodic sludge in the metals plant refinery, 150,952 kilograms of silver and 5,649 kilograms of gold were obtained, while the acid plant produced 351,537 tons of sulfuric acid.

Ventanas’ concentrate production capacity averaged 445 thousand dry metric tons for the year 2006.

References -
News December 5, 2019 - To calm around 8,000 workers linked to Chile's Ventanas smelter, mining minister Baldo Prokurica told the senate’s mining and energy commission on Wednesday that goods from a state company cannot be disposed of via board decision.  His remarks are a response to the board of state miner Codelco, which two months ago said it was considering closing the smelter in Valparaíso region because of falling profitability due to “growing environmental and economic requirements."  Ventanas smelter and refinery processes copper concentrates to produce anodes and cathodes. Half the concentrates come from small and medium-scale miners and the other half come from Anglo American and Codelco’s El Teniente and Andina mines.  Annual production is set at 420,000t for the smelter and 400,000t for the refinery. The facilities also produce 360,000t of sulfuric acid.  Codelco assumed control of Ventanas in 2005 and over the last five years has invested US$160mn to reduce sulfur, arsenic and particulate matter emissions. The smelter achieved 95% of emissions capture, making it number one in the country.  In 2017, Ventanas reduced sulfur emissions by 32%, arsenic by 43% and particulate matter by 82% compared to 2010, according to Codelco. But to achieve the global standard of 99% capture a US$500mn investment is needed.  By 2022, Codelco would have to invest US$30mn to fulfill requirements of a decontamination plan, but Ventanas registers losses of US$50mn every year. And if Codelco shuts it down, the company must pay US$150mn to guarantee the surrounding communities’ safety.  Sonami mining association president Diego Hernández mentioned numbers from state copper commission Cochilco, saying that Ventanas is only number 52 on a list of the 57 most efficient smelters in the world. And three other Codelco smelters also rank badly. “Chuquicamata is number 56, Potrerillos is number 53 and Caletones is 42,” he said. And Codelco operates four of the most expensive smelters globally.  “If Codelco closes Ventanas, the whole community will be affected. In the last eight years, 4bn pesos [US$5.11mn] were invested in surrounding communities,” Andrea Cruces from Codelco union No. 1 told the senate commission.  Cruces added that if the smelter closes, the refinery won’t have the amount of mineral needed to operate.  Senators from Metropolitan and O’Higgins regions, Guido Girardi and Alejandro García Huidobro, have proposed Codelco invest the required US$30mn by 2022 and unite scientists, miners and government to propose ideas on how Chile could get 21st century smelters.  Minister Prokurica, meanwhile, called on Codelco’s board to tell the senate commission more details about Ventanas’ operations.

September 3, 2018
- Chilean state miner Codelco halted the operations of three out of four furnaces at its Ventanas copper foundry on Monday morning after high levels of sulphur dioxide were detected, it said in a statement.Codelco said levels of the gas went 20 percent over the accepted limit for five minutes, prompting it to shut down the furnaces as a "voluntary and preventative measure" in the industrial area of Ventanas, 90 miles (145 kilometers) northeast of Santiago.  Amid protests by local residents, the government claimed state-run energy firm ENAP was to blame but the company has denied the claim. Codelco was cleared of any involvement in that leak at another facility.The state-owned copper miner, the largest in the world, has paid fines for previous excess emissions in area.It said in its statement that on this occasion there had been no infringement of environmental regulations, while the government confirmed separately that no injury or illness had been reported.A company spokesman confirmed to Reuters that there would be a "minor impact" on production.

March 28, 2011
Bnamericas reported that Chilean state copper producer Codelco resumed operations at its Ventanas division smelter plant after a sulfur dioxide leak forced the company to suspend activities on March 23rd 2011.  Mr Diego Hernández CEO of Codelco said that "The incident is already solved. Everything is under control and the plant has resumed normal operations. As soon as management found out about the emissions, we decided to stop the furnace at the plant and worked on making sure the problem was solved before starting operations again."  Students and teachers from the adjacent La Greda school suffered respiratory problems and headaches following the release of the smelter gas and were taken to a nearby health center for observation. A recent report by health authorities said La Greda is the most contaminated school in Chile. Significant amounts of arsenic and cadmium among others were found in the soil at the institution.  Located in central region V, the school is in the same district as the Ventanas smelting and refinery complex, two thermoelectric power plants owned by local generator AES Gener and several other industrial facilities. As a result of the high levels of contamination detected and in the aftermath of the most recent emergency, the government has decided to move the school and has asked the companies operating in the zone to help with the relocation.  Mr Hernández said that Codelco is more than willing to help with mitigation measures such as the relocation of the school. The CEO and representatives from region V's industrial association Asiver were scheduled to meet with environment minister María Ignacia Benítez to discuss and coordinate a plan of action.  He also announced plans to improve environmental conditions at the Ventanas complex which will be developed within the next 12 to 18 months. These include the construction of new, sealed conveyor belts and stockpiling facilities for copper concentrates to avoid dust contamination. The release of sulfur dioxide was a one-time incident. The main environmental problem is related to dust contamination which happens when copper concentrates are blown around by the wind.  Mr Hernández also highlighted advances made over the last 16 years to reduce contamination in the zone. Current SO2 and PM10 emissions at the plant are 13% and 12% of the levels registered in 1994.   Meanwhile, a group of environmental activists has submitted a legal action before region V's appeals court requesting the closure of the plant until authorities can confirm that the company has taken all the necessary measures to prevent a new sulfur dioxide leak.  Former plant workers also filed a lawsuit on Friday claiming that 28 of their colleagues died due to exposure to smelter gas emissions while working at the facility.  www.bnamericas.com

GEA Bischoff received the order for 2 wet gas electrostatic precipitators (WESP) from CODELCO in Chile. CODELCO is the biggest producer of copper in the world. In the last 30 years GEA Bischoff has supplied different kind of gas cleaning equipment to CODELCO, among others 40 WESPs. The new precipitators will be installed in CODELCO’s sulphuric acid plant in Las Ventanas.

MTPD - Metric Tonne per Day           STPD - Short Ton per Day
MTPA - Metric Tonne per Annum      STPA - Short Ton per Annum
SA - Single Absorption
DA - Double Absorption

* Coordinates can be used to locate plant on Google Earth