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

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Acid Plant Database  February 21, 2018

Owner Konkola Copper Mines PLC (KCM)





KCM is a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Plc, a London listed FTSE 100 metals and mining group.

1970 Prior - Anglo American Corporation and Roan Selection Trust owned the mines. After negotiations between the Zambian Government and the two mining groups, the mines were reorganised into Nchanga Consolidated Copper Mines Limited (NCCM) and Roan Consolidated Mines Limited (RCM). Through Mining and Industrial Development Corporation Limited (MINDECO), the Government acquired a 51 per cent interest and Zambia Copper Investments (ZCI) acquired the remaining 49 per cent in NCCM.
1974 - Mindeco's 51 per cent shareholding in NCCM was transferred to ZIMCO.  The Government acquired 51 % shares in RCM. The Roan Selection Trust, ZCI and the general public held the rest.
1981 - RCM and NCCM were merged to form a conglomerate called Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM).
1991 - Zambia became a multi-party state when the Movement of Multi-party Democracy (MMD) was elected. The government embarked on an exercise to privatise parastatal companies, including the mining industry.
2000 - The privatising programme was completed when ZCCM assets were bought by Mopani Copper Mines plc and Konkola Copper Mines plc. Anglo American plc acquired a 51% shares in KCM.
2002 - Anglo America, IFC and CDC withdrew as shareholders of KCM, leaving a restructured company whose main shareholders were ZCCM IH and ZCI.
2004 - Vedanta Resources became the major shareholders in KCM with a 51 per cent share in the Company.

Venanta Resources: 51%
Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM): 20.6%
Zambia Copper Investments Limited: 28.4%

Website www.kcm.co.zm

Nkana Smelter

No. 3 Plant No. 4 Plant
Coordinates* 12° 50' 34" S, 28° 12' 14" E -
Type of Plant Metallurgical -
Gas Source Copper Converters -
Plant Capacity 1050 MTPD -
SA/DA - -
Emissions - -
Status Shutdown Shutdown
Year Built - -
Technology - -
Contractor - -
Remarks - -

Konkola Copper Mines - Kitwe 1.jpg (203595 bytes)  Konkola Copper Mines - Kitwe 2.jpg (116097 bytes)  Konkola-Copper-Mines-Kitwe-3.jpg (204222 bytes)   KCM-Nkana-PFD.JPG (75600 bytes)


Konkola Copper Mines Plc (KCM) is the largest mining and metals company in Zambia with annual capacity of 200,000 metric tonnes of copper.

The smelter produces high grade anodes, which are electrolytically refined. Sulphur dioxide gas produced by the Converters is converted into sulphuric acid which is then used at the Tailings Leach Plant, Nchanga for recovering oxide copper. The smelter also produces discard slag from the reverbs that is rich in cobalt which is stored for future reclamation.

www.grinaker-lta.com - 2001 - This project consisted of the upgrading of the existing 600 tpd Teniente converter to accept the injection of bone dry concentrate in order to increase throughput to 1200 tpd of copper produced. The wet concentrate is dried in a flash dryer and is then pneumatically conveyed and injected through tuyeres into the reactor vessel.  The project also included the major overhaul of a 1000 tpd sulphuric acid plant in two 30 day shutdown periods, viz July 2001 and August 2003. Refurbishment included the replacement of the drying tower, acid recirculation tank and main gas ductwork.

References Cutler, C.J., Natarajan, M., Mponda, E. and Eksteen, J.J., "Phasing Out Reverberatory Furnace Operations at KCM Nkana", Souther African Pyrometallurgy 2006, Johannesburg, March 5-8, 2006.
News February 21, 2018 - Zambia’s largest integrated copper producer Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), subsidiary of LSE-listed diversified miner Vedanta Resources recently hosted a tour of its operations in Chingola for a delegation of Finnish companies conducting business in the mining industry. The tour was led by Finnish Ambassador to Zambia Timo Olkkonen as a means for the two countries to collaborate on business opportunities.Olkkonen has hailed KCM’s plans to expand its operations and increase production to 500 000 tpa, stating that the expansion of operations was not only good for the company but also a cause for optimism for the country’s mining sector.“It’s been a very interesting and valuable visit. KCM’s plan to invest more and expand operations is definitely a cause for optimism for the mining industry and Zambia as a whole. I can see that KCM clearly has a bright future in Zambia.”Olkkonen also commended KCM for investing in clean technology at the smelter as this was good for the environment.“The Nchanga Smelter speaks for itself. It’s one of the cleanest in the world. I think it’s good for KCM and other mining companies to use efficient and clean technology in their operations,” he said.The Nchanga smelter employs technology from Finland and captures 99.7% of sulphur dioxide to make it as one of the best processing plants.KCM CEO Steven Din said the company had set in motion plans to ramp up production and reach the target of 500 000 tpa.“Reaching this tagert will not only be beneficial to KCM but will also help Zambia to regain its top position as a copper producer in Africa which was lost to the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Din said.The Finnish delegation includes Geological Survey of Finland, Robit, A- insinoorit, Business Finland, Ima Engineering, Sleipner and Normet.The delegation is in the country to explore business opportunities and strengthen existing business relationships with firms like KCM, which has procured a lot of technology and some equipment from Finland.

March 28, 2017
- The Zambia Environmental Management Agency has issued two separate Compliance and Environmental Restoration Orders to Konkola Copper Mines to address various environmental issues by end of this month.  And documents obtained from KCM’s Legal Department show that the mining giant has been emitting sulphur dioxide and cadmium which are 10.3 times and 13.41 times above statutory limits respectively.  According to leaked copies of the orders, ZEMA now wants KCM to take measures to reduce or eliminate the risk on human health and the environment.  In 2015 an eight year long legal battle by 2000 contaminated residents finally ended when the Supreme Court of Zambia confirmed the High Court’s opinion that KCM was guilty of ‘gross recklessness’ and damaging villagers’ health. However, the $2 million in damages earlier awarded by the High Court was removed, leaving the residents short of real justice. Subsequently London law firms filed for damages from Vedanta Resources on behalf of approximately 3000 of the contaminated villagers, and the shocking story of years of pollution has reached the Guardian and BBC.  In its Environmental Restoration Order dated 3rd March 2017, ZEMA has ordered KCM to complete the water recycling project at the Mutimpa Tailings Dam to prevent the continuation of or cause of water pollution especially with high levels of sulphates in the affluent by the 31st March 2017.  The agency has also ordered KCM to cease the discharge of affluent from Mutimpa Tailings Dam containing regulated parameters that are above the respective statutory limits by 31st March 2017.  It has also ordered KCM to submit to a detailed plan of work for de-silting of the Chingola stream, Mushishima stream and Mutimpa Stream highlighting in particular the de-silting process and the management of the generated silt/waste by 15th March 2017.   ZEMA further wants KCM to restore the flow channels of the three streams namely, Chingola Stream, Mushishima Stream and Muntimpa Stream by de-silting their stream beds by 30th April 2017.  The agency has also ordered KCM to develop and implement a programme for continuous de-silting of the three streams and the Pollution Control Dam to prevent their continuation of cause of water pollution by 15th March 2017.  It also wants the mining giant to conduct the Environmental Impact Assessment of Chingola Stream, Mushishima Stream and Hippo Pool by the 31st day of May 2017.  And according to the Compliance Order dated 1st March 2017, ZEMA has ordered KCM to comply in full with the conditions of the Emission Licence number “NDL/EMM/00708/Z10/2014”.  The agency has now ordered KCM to immediately ensure that the effluent and emission parameters are compliant with their respective statutory limits especially sulphur dioxide and cadmium emissions which were 10.3 times and 13.41 times above statutory limits respectively as the time of the returns for July to December 2016.  It also wants ZEMA to immediately cease discharging the Pregnant Liquor Solution and the pollution Control Dam.  ZEMA has also ordered KCM to install online monitoring equipment to monitor all regulated parameters and procure and install a monitoring equipment for mercury with a detention limit lower than the statutory limit of 0.002 mg/l by 30th April 2017.  The environmental agency also wants KCM to develop a continuous programme of de-silting of the Mushishima Stream and submit to the Agency by the 15th March 2017.  It also wants the Chingola based firm to conduct investigations on why the ground water quality were non-compliant for pH, Manganese, TSS and Co and submit the report to ZEMA by 31st March 2017 and develop a programme to clean up the ground water contamination and submit the programme to ZEMA by 15th March 2017.

November 11, 2013 - Local Government and Housing Minister Emerine Kabanshi has given Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) a seven-day ultimatum in which to reduce sulphur dioxide pollution in the Mwambashi River.  Ms Kabanshi said KCM should immediately find solution to reduce sulphur dioxide in water in order for Nkana Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC) to supply clean water to the residents of Kalulushi.  She revealed this over the weekend during her tour of the Nkana water plants in Kalulushi and Chingola.  Mr Kabanshi said KCM needed to come up with a short term plan in seven days in which to solve the problem caused by the mining giant.  “I am giving you seven days ultimatum of which you as a company should find a solution to reduce sulphur dioxide as soon as possible.  “When I come back next week I should find something done about this problem,” Ms Kabanshi said.  And KCM general manager sustainability Howard Chilundika said the company was committed to cover the cost of pumping water from Kitwe to kalulushi and also to reduce the sulphur dioxide in the water.  Mr Chilundika said KCM was aware of the water problem and was working hand in hand with Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) and Nkana water in order to supply clean water.  Nkana water managing director Diana Makwaba said pumping water from Kitwe to Kalulushi was not sustainable as the company was already facing challenges in supplying water to Kitwe resisdents.  Ms Makwaba said KCM should come up with a cost effective plan immediately to avoid other plants shutting down due to the same discharge as the Ganaton plan had already shut down.  She said the levels of pollution in the water was to high and should be reduced so that other plants do not get affected especially the Kitwe plant.  Ms Makwaba said if the Kitwe plant got affected it would be closed of which it would be a distdisaster to Kitwe residents.  “My major concern is having any of our plants closed due to the same problem as we have already closed one plant and we do not want anymore plants.  “KCM should ensure that water discharge is reduced in order to residents to receive clean water in their community.” She said.

February 19, 2009 - Zambia's Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has shut its Nkana Smelter and cut 677 jobs, a company spokesman said on Thursday.  KCM spokesman Rahur Kharkar said the Nkana smelter had been shut after the company started to rely on the new Nchanga smelter in Chingola, north of Lusaka.  "Yes we have," Kharkar said in response to a question on whether the smelter, with an annual capacity of 150,000 tonnes of copper, had been shut down.  Kharkar said shifting to Nchanga would help cut costs.  "At Nchanga, the processing route is faster and it will help us to cut (production) costs by 50 cents per pound," he said.  He said 677 miners who could not be absorbed at the new smelter had been made redundant.  Kharkar said the Nchanga smelter, which has an annual capacity of 300,000 tonnes of copper, was also producing 1,800 tonnes of acid each day.  KCM, which is majority owned by London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc is Zambia's largest copper producer.  KCM operates the Nchanga open pit and Konkola copper mines, the Nchanga smelter and the Fitwaola satellite copper mine.


December 9, 2003 - Zambia's Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) announced a further reduction in its copper output for 2003 because of a shutdown in July of its Nkana Smelter plant.  It said in the firm's official publication, however, it would enter 2004 in a much stronger position through stringent cost-cutting measures and investment.  "The $10-million refurbishment carried out at Nkana Smelter during the shut down has put the plant in good stead for the projected target of 229 000 t (finished copper) in 2004," chief financial officer Jordan Soko said.  Production for 2003 was now expected to drop further to 191 000 t from the earlier revised annual output of 200 000 t of finished copper, Soko said in Konkola News.  KCM, which accounts for some 67% of total Zambia's metals output, said in October its production would slide to 200 000 t from 226 000 due to fuel and acid shortages that hit Zambia in mid-2003.   "KCM is currently predicting to achieve a finished copper production of 191 000 t," Soko was quoted as saying.  He also said 2004 copper production had been forecast at 229 000 t and that the miner's budget for capital investment had been projected at $70-million.  "The production cost of 65 cents a pound must be achieved to support the ambitious $70-million capital investment that will set the company on the right footing," Soko said.  He said the production shortfall was mainly due to the month-long Nkana shutdown and a shortage of sulphuric acid supplies to the Tailings Leach Plant (TLP), coupled with the high cost of importing acid.  KCM operates the Nchanga open-pit and Konkola copper-mines and the Nampundwe pyrite-mine.  

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