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

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Acid Plant Database   March 25, 2020

 

Owner Nyrstar

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Location PO Box 219
Ellen Street
Port Pirie SA 5540
Australia
Background Formerly
- The Broken Hill Assoc. Smelters Pty Ltd.
- Pasminco
- Zinifex
2007 -
Nystar today announced that as of 31 August 2007 it had taken ownership of the zinc and lead smelting and alloying assests of Umicore and Zinifex, thereby formally launching the company and creating the world’s largest zinc producer.
Website www.nyrstar.com
Plant - New Plant
Coordinates 33º 9' 58" S, 138º 0' 38" E  
Type of Plant Metallurgical Metallurgical
Gas Source Pb
Ausmelt
Formerly: Sinter Machine
Pb
Ausmelt
Plant Capacity 350 MTPD 1000 MTPD
SA/DA - DA
Status Operating Operating
Year Built -  
Technology -  
Contractor - Ducting Contractor: Steel Link
Remarks -  
Pictures  Nyrstar - Port Pirie 2.jpg (12649 bytes)  Nyrstar - Port Pirie 3.jpg (23880 bytes)  Nyrstar - Port Pirie 4.jpg (43220 bytes)  Nyrstar - Port Pirie 5.jpg (16113 bytes)  

Nyrstar - Port Pirie 6.jpg (34423 bytes)  Nyrstar - Port Pirie 7.jpg (55587 bytes)  Nyrstar - Port Pirie 8.jpg (38587 bytes)  

     
General Construction of the new Pb Ausmelt furnace http://comeseechange.com/smelter-redevelopment/

Port Pirie is an integrated multi metal smelter and refinery with flexibility to efficiently process a wide range of lead-dominant feedstocks.  Its products include refined lead and lead alloys, silver, zinc, copper, gold and sulphuric acid.  Port Pirie is located on the eastern shore of Spencer Gulf, South Australia and its operations and residue stockpiles are located on site. There is an adjacent dedicated port facility and products are dispatched by road and rail.
The smelter was built in 1889 for processing early Broken Hill lead concentrates. Since then it has been progressively upgraded and is now the largest primary lead smelter in the world. Currently, its blast furnace limits its capacity to approximately 245,000 tonnes per year, however, other parts of the facility have a capacity of approximately 270,000 tonnes. The current zinc and copper production facilities were commissioned in 1967 and 1984 respectively and the lead smelter in which gold and silver are largely recovered was rebuilt in 1998.
Port Pirie leases and operates the adjacent port facility from the Flinders Ports Corporation under a long-term arrangement. It operates a concentrate and residue unloading facility as well as the finished metal product and acid loading facility.
Port Pirie's strategy is to build on its scale and product flexibility, while continuing to meet the cost of sustaining its process plant and infrastructure. It intends to achieve this through diversifying its concentrate supply sources, expanding its production of high value metals, accelerating recovery of the zinc metal contained in current and historic residues and reducing its working capital and operating costs.

Process

Lead sulphide concentrates are sintered at high temperature into a lump form or sinter. Sulphur is oxidised to sulphur dioxide in a gas stream that is cleaned and processed to make sulphuric acid.  The sinter and coke are charged to a lead blast furnace that produces a crude lead bullion and slag and the bullion is then refined to remove impurities including copper, arsenic, antimony, bismuth, silver and gold.  Metallic copper is then produced through leaching, solvent extraction and electrowinning. Silver and gold are produced as refined and semi-refined products, respectively.  The blast furnace slag is fumed to recover zinc and lead as impure oxides. These oxides are then processed by leaching, solution purification and electrowinning to make market zinc metal, in a similar manner to the RLE process.

Operations

Although historically the majority of concentrates were sourced from the Broken Hill and Endeavour mines, the reduced availability of Broken Hill concentrates in recent years has led to an increase in supply from other sources, most notably Cannington, Rosebery and Century.  Currently, Port Pirie processes all of Rosebery's lead concentrates and a significant proportion of Century's lead concentrates.  In addition to processing lead concentrates, Port Pirie also processes around 110,000 tonnes of by-product residues which it sources from Hobart and from its own historic stockpiles.  The residues provide Port Pirie with an almost costless source of feedstock which contains over 17% zinc.  Currently, Port Pirie's capacity limits the quantity of residues it can treat and the excess received from Hobart is stockpiled on site. Plans to increase Hobart's proportion of Century concentrate are key to ensuring Port Pirie is able both to treat Hobart's residues and meet the EPA's target to eliminate all on site residue stockpiles by 2020.

Production

Following an improvement program that targeted plant availability and operating efficiency, Port Pirie's lead production capacity was approximately 270,000 tonnes peryear. The closure of the Cockle Creek smelter in 2003, however, removed Cockle Creek bullion as a feedstock, effectively limiting the plant capacity to 245,000 tonnes. Zinifex is currently evaluating a number of options to increase the blast furnace capacity.   The current zinc production facilities have a capacity of 43,000 tonnes per year of SHG and zinc alloys, which is fully utilised. Port Pirie produces approximately 95,000 tonnes per year of sulphuric acid, which is sold to a global acid marketing company under a long-term contract.

Environmental Management

Port Pirie works closely with and supports the local Environmental Health Centre to minimise potential health impacts of metals in the community. Community lead in blood levels in children are now at less than half the level that they were in the mid 1980's. Our aim is to progressively reduce lead in blood levels such that ultimately all children meet the national goal of 10 micrograms per decilitre.

References -
News

March 25, 2020 - South Australia's environmental watchdog will prosecute a Belgian company over allegations 700 litres of acid leaked from its Port Pirie lead smelter into a creek.  The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will prosecute Belgium-based Nyrstar Port Pirie Pty Ltd in the Environment, Resources and Development (ERD) Court for allegedly causing serious environmental harm.  The EPA will allege Nyrstar polluted the environment by "discharging, or failing to prevent the discharge of, about 700 litres of sulphuric acid" from its smelter into First Creek between January 31 and February 3 last year.  "Potential environmental harm was caused by polluting the environment and creating harmful conditions for fish and other plant and animal life in the creek," the EPA said in a statement.  In a statement, Nyrstar confirmed the EPA had issued it with a summons to appear in court.  "Nyrstar does not intend to provide ongoing commentary in relation to this matter given it involves legal proceedings."  In October 2019, ABC News questioned the company over allegations mass fish deaths had occurred in a breeding ground near the factory site.  At the time, Nyrstar said "the incident occurred following the failure of a valve and ultimately resulted in a discharge into the water course".  Documents from the EPA, released under Freedom of Information, alleged sulfuric acid leaked from Nyrstar's factory into Port Pirie's First Creek on January 31.  The EPA refused to release a summary of the incident, however February briefings to South Australia's Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone said "localised fish kills" had occurred in mangroves, with State Government investigators unable to assess the damage for at least five days after the spill.  Parliamentary briefing notes were prepared for ministers and media statements were prepared, but no public announcement was made.  Local net fisherman David Wilkes, who reported the alleged January sulfuric acid leak, said the smelter was important to the town, but called for greater transparency to ensure the environment was kept clean.  He said alleged leaks had been the subject of discussion in the community, but there had been no formal notification from the State Government or Nyrstar.  "When these sorts of things happen, I think it's the responsibility of the smelter to let the public know exactly what's going on, what the consequences are and what remedies have been made to fix the situation."


August 1, 2019
- A South Australian smelter owned by Nyrstar in the state's mid north will resume production after the company was acquired by Trafigura.  Nyrstar disabled its Port Pirie blast furnace in May amid an outstanding debt owed to the South Australian government.  Treasurer Rob Lucas announced on Thursday that he approved the majority takeover by global commodity trading giant Trafigura, which came into effect in Europe overnight.  A repayment regime for a $291 million government loan has been implemented for the Port Pirie smelter, which Mr Lucas said provides greater certainty.  "We now have a clear path forward for the strong future of the Port Pirie smelter under the new ownership of one of the world's leading global commodity trading companies, Trafigura,'' said Mr Lucas.  After long-running negotiations, Singapore-based Trafigura promised to pay off the outstanding debt by November 2022.  Nyrstar had previously failed to make payments on time as financial analysts warned investors earlier this year the company had a high probability of default.


June 7, 2019
- Nyrstar is in another tricky situation, and has allegedly halted production at its Port Pirie lead smelter and declared force majeure.  According to Reuters, the European zinc smelter stopped output at Port Pirie, located in South Australia, in late May, due to an unplanned outage at its blast furnace.  “We are currently in the process of assessing the outage and expect that production should resume within the coming days. There will be a negative impact to Nyrstar’s lead metal production due to the outage,” a company spokesperson told Reuters.  he asset produced 160,000 tonnes of lead in 2018, a 7 percent drop from the year before, which the company attributed to a planned 38 day blast furnace maintenance outage and a shutdown of the blast furnace later that year.  Port Pirie, an integrated multi-metal recovery plant, is one of the largest primary lead smelting facilities in the world and is the third largest silver producer, according to Nyrstar. The company has been working on a redevelopment project surrounding the asset, which involves converting Pirie’s operations into an “advanced metal recovery and refining facility.”  The conversion process entails replacing the existing sinter plant with an oxygen-enriched bath smelting furnace and replacing the existing sulfuric acid plant with a new plant that hosts a larger capacity and upgraded technology.  Nyrstar is still in the ramp-up process of Port Pirie’s redevelopment, with a 2018 full-year report from the company marking the project’s total price tag at AU$714 million.  The company has been in financial hot water for the last several months as it has relied on shareholder funding to help dodge the bankruptcy bullet. In April, major shareholder Trafigura Group announced it would be taking control of the company through a lockup deal that entailed interim funding arrangements to keep Nyrstar’s operations ongoing.  The deal saw Nyrstar receive US$250 million in secured bridge financing, a boost the company gained just months after Trafigura provided a US$650 million working capital facility to help Nyrstar’s liquidity.  As of Wednesday (June 5), lead was trading at US$1,880.50 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange.  In Brussels, Nyrstar shares closed 2.14 percent lower on Thursday (June 6), hitting 0.19 euros.


April 8, 2019
- Children in Port Pirie are being exposed to the highest levels of toxic airborne lead and sulphur dioxide in Australia, causing respiratory problems and risks to cognitive development. According to a new study, these serious risks to human health have accelerated in the last few years despite decades of warnings about the health impacts of pollution from the nearby smelter.The study found that almost half (47 per cent) of children under five years old have dangerous levels of lead in their blood, with levels increasing in tandem with smelter emissions. In addition, presentations to the local emergency department for respiratory issues are occurring at more than double the rate of other areas of regional South Australia, with children being disproportionately affected.Lead pollution across the city from the smelter at Port Pirie continues to remain close to the national annual guideline of 0.5 μg/m3, with daily peaks and annual concentrations in some parts of the city exceeding this level.This guideline in itself is however inadequate to protect Port Pirie’s children. The study led by Macquarie University experts and published in Environmental International found that the levels of lead in air need to be 80 per cent lower than the current national guideline to ensure that children’s blood lead levels stay below the national intervention threshold of 5 µg/dL.The national one-hour standard for sulphur dioxide of 0.2 ppm has been exceeded in Port Pirie more than 1000 times since 2003. The study presents the first systematic analysis of sulphur dioxide emissions on respiratory outcomes in Port Pirie despite it being a known health risk for decades.The researchers showed a clear link between elevated levels of pollution and the number of children presenting in emergency departments with respiratory conditions.Professor Mark Taylor from Macquarie University’s Department of Environmental Sciences who led the study said the findings show a clear and extended risk of harm to children in Port Pirie from the increased smelter emissions.“Current smelting emissions must be lowered significantly to limit adverse childhood health outcomes including respiratory illness, reduced IQ, academic achievement and socio-behavioural problems that are associated with lead exposure at levels experienced by Port Pirie children,” said Professor Taylor.“Given that the source and extent of the problem in Port Pirie has been well documented and solutions are well known to industry and government, there is no justifiable reason to not prevent, as a matter of urgency, further adverse exposure to toxic pollution.“It is shameful that such exposures have been allowed to continue for such an extended period and then to be elevated when the evidence of harm to health, particularly with vulnerable children, is incontrovertible.”
www.miragenews.com


January 22, 2017
- Smelting group Nyrstar has opened its upgraded metals processing plant at Port Pirie, north of Adelaide, after a $600 million investment to cut pollution and ensure its long-term viability.Premier Jay Weatherill says the upgraded plant has secured 730 ongoing jobs and will allow the company to significantly reduce emissions."For Nyrstar, improved efficiencies provide a pathway to uplift earnings and for Port Pirie we can lock in better health and environment outcomes for decades to come," Mr Weatherill said as he visited the plant on Monday.Nyrstar chairman Martyn Konig said the smelter had played a strong role in the changing face of Port Pirie for more than 127 years."Nyrstar is proud and committed to continue to be a fundamentally important part of the economic and social landscape in Port Pirie," he said.Mr Konig said Nyrstar also valued a commitment to sustainability and one of the most important reasons for the redevelopment was the significant environmental benefits it promised to deliver.That included moving to a completely enclosed furnace design to capture dust and sulphur dioxide emissions which would result in a markedly improved environmental footprint, he said.SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said the Nyrstar development had also provided up to 600 jobs during the construction phase and local companies were awarded contracts worth about $90 million."But just as importantly, securing the future for Port Pirie has encouraged other businesses to invest in new developments due to the certainty we have created," he said.Mr Weatherill said without the redevelopment, the closure of the Port Pirie facility had been a possibility.'That would have been catastrophic on a number of levels, environmentally, socially but of course economically for this region," he said.The premier said the government had two key goals in supporting the project, protecting the health of the local community and protecting local jobs.

November 15, 2017
- Global multi-metals business Nyrstar has raised €100 million (US$118.5 million) through a private placement as it looks to restart the Myra Falls copper-zinc-lead mine in British Columbia, Canada, and redevelop the Port Pirie zinc-lead smelter in Australia.  It placed 15.4 million new shares with institutional investors at €6.50 per share, with the new shares representing 16.4% of the number of outstanding shares before the transaction.  The deal is supposed to close on November 17 when Nyrstar shares will total 109 million.  Of the total proceeds, €30 million will be used to restart Myra Falls in British Columbia, which was suspended in October 2015.  The remainder will fund the €70 million capital investment required to finish the redevelopment of Port Pirie in South Australia, which is being ramped up and should result in "a substantial earnings uplift from 2018 onwards".  The redevelopment includes replacing the old sinter plant with an oxygen enriched bath smelting furnace, replacing the old sulphuric acid plant with a new plant with greater capacity and upgrading technology at the smelter.


May 16, 2014 - Belgium’s Nyrstar, the world’s largest zinc smelter, said it had agreed a funding package with the Australian government to upgrade and expand its 125-year-old lead smelter in Port Pirie, Australia.  Nyrstar said the investment would transform the smelter into an advanced metals recovery and refining centre, which would process concentrates from the company’s mines and residues from its zinc smelters. Completion is set for the end of 2016.  The upgrade will enable the plant, which processed less than 180,000 tonnes of lead in 2013, to produce up to 250,000 tonnes of the refined metal, which is used in batteries.  It will also have the capacity to produce 7,000 tonnes of copper in matte, 40,000 tonnes of zinc in fume, 25 million ounces of silver dore and 100,000 troy ounces of gold.  The total cost of the redevelopment will be 514 million Australian dollars ($480.6 million), higher than the initial estimate of A$351 million because Nyrstar will construct a new sulphuric acid plant on the site.  Nyrstar also said it would cease production at its zinc smelter at the Port Pirie complex by the end of July and close it by the end of 2015.  Output volumes have been deteriorating and costs rising at the plant, which has the highest cost of Nyrstar’s six zinc smelters.  The Port Pirie complex directly employs 800 people, or 17 percent of the working population of South Australia, and about 2,500 people directly or indirectly, the company said.  The impact on jobs is not yet known, but overall job losses are unlikely, a company spokeswoman said.  The decision to upgrade the plant came after a strategic review of Nyrstar’s processing facilities, which found the technology and the process needed to be redesigned to improve efficiency and reduce costs.  A review of Nyrstar mining operations is currently underway.  Nyrstar said it would contribute A$103 million on the overhaul, and the remained would come from a special purpose vehicle (SPV). The SPV will seek around A$291 million in financing from third parties and will benefit from a guarantee from Australia’s export credit agency.  A further A$120 million will come from the forward sale of future silver production.  Nyrstar said the redevelopment would generate a post-tax leveraged internal rate of return of 25-30 percent. It said capital expenditure this year would be 290-335 million euros. It had previously forecast 265-335 million euros.

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