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Sulphuric Acid Plant Specifications

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Acid Plant Database  September 4, 2018

Owner Impala Platinum Limited (Implats)

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Location Rustenburg
South Africa
Background -
Website www.implats.co.za
Plant Contact Acid Plant Sulacid
Coordinates* 25° 32' 36" S, 27° 11' 3" E 25° 32' 38" S, 27° 11' 1" E
Type of Plant Metallurgical Carbon Adsorption
Gas Source Peirce Smith Converter gas only (4 to 9% SO2)
54,000 Nm3/h (dry)
Electric Furnace Off gas 0.9% SO2
Plant Capacity - -
SA/DA SA (4 beds) -
Status Operating Operating
Year Built - 2002
Technology Lurgi (Outotec) -
Contractor - -
Remarks Common tail-gas scrubbing system - Wet lime forced oxidation
MECS DynaWave
<100 ppmv SO2

Gas Cleaning: Quench/Radial Flow Scrubber (RFS)-ID Fan-Star Coolers- WESP (2x2)

Activated carbon process producing 13% H2SO4

Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (Implats) is in the business of mining, refining and the marketing of platinum group metals (PGMs), especially platinum, as well as nickel, copper and cobalt. Implats is also involved in the secondary sourcing of material through Impala Refining Services (IRS) which enables it to capitalise on the group's competitive advantages in processing and refining.

Impala Refining Services (IRS) was created in July 1998 as a dedicated vehicle to house the toll refining and metal concentrate purchases built up by the group. The concept behind IRS has become a major strategic thrust for Implats and has delivered phenomenal growth. IRS, which sources material from five continents, enables Implats to leverage its surface assets and expertise, to reduce costs related to Impala-production (through economies of scale) and to pursue growth through strategic alliances and joint ventures.

During the 2006 financial year, IRS reported attributable platinum production of 721,000 ounces (1.49 million ounces of PGMs) with nickel production of 7,700 tonnes.

Key benefits for Implats of growth through IRS (as opposed to growth through pure mining projects) is that there is reduced exposure to mining risk as well as lower investment requirements. The exploitation of smaller deposits by third parties is possible, thus ensuring increased supply of Impala-brand metal into world markets.

Typical products processed by Impala on behalf of IRS include:

- flotation concentrates from Aquarius Platinum with whom the relationship has been extended from the first offtake agreement involving Kroondal to include offtake agreements for Marikana and most recently Everest. Other flotation concentrates are sourced from Marula and Mimosa


- furnace matte from Zimplats


- spent autocatalysts from A-1 Specialised Services and Supplies Inc. for recycling


- selected base metal residues and other secondary materials befitting the Impala processing flowsheet.


IRS’s modus operandi is to enter into either metal purchase agreements or toll refining agreements, or a combination of the two. In metal purchase agreements, a percentage of the contained metal (allowing for Impala's cost and a profit margin) is purchased after an agreed processing period. In toll refining agreements, IRS charges the client a smelting, refining and handling fee and either purchases, or returns to the client, a market-related percentage of the contained metal after an agreed processing period.

Impala Platinum's personnel process metal on behalf of IRS using Impala's processing assets and charge IRS a market-related fee.



From the outset, IRS, backed by Impala’s proven processing capability, has provided its customers with consistent execution of all facets of their offtake agreements. IRS is engaging in discussions relating to the exploitation of future reserves and welcomes approaches from customers needing an established processing route for their precious metal-containing products.

References Sulfuric Acid Today, Spring/Summer 2018
News February 3, 2010 - GE Oil & Gas, a world leading company in oil and gas advanced technology equipment and services, will supply two new compressors for platinum miner Impala Platinum’s (Implats) sulphuric acid plant in Rustenburg, South Africa.  The $2 million contract for the supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of the two compressor trains was awarded through GE’s local compressor agent, Flotech. The compressor packages also include auxiliary equipment such as lubrication oil systems, electric motors, gearboxes and instrumentation.  Shawn Prince, GE Oil & Gas account manager—South Africa said: “We are delighted to have been selected by Implats for this project. We have a strong track record of technology leadership and reliability in acid plant applications. In addition, we focused on reducing delivery time to assist the customer in having a plant operating at full capacity in the shortest time possible.”  The new compressor packages will be commissioned in mid-2010.

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