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

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Acid Plant Database July 29, 2010

Owner Onahama Smelting and Refining Co., Ltd.

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Dowa-Logo.gif (1455 bytes)

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Fukushima Prefecture


Major Shareholders
- Mitsubishi Materials Corporation www.mmc.co.jp
- Dowa Metals & Mining Co., Ltd.
- Furukawa Metals & Resources Co., Ltd. www.furukawakk.co.jp
- Mitsubishi Cable Industries, Ltd.
- Mitsubishi Corporation

1963 – Company founded
1965 – Production began
1970 – Second double absorption acid plant added

Website http://group.mmc.co.jp
Plant No. 1 Plant No. 2 Plant
Coordinates* 36° 56' 25" N, 140° 52' 55" E
Type of Plant Metallurgical
Gas Source

- S Furnace
- 2 Reverberatory Furnaces
- 5 Pierce-Smith Converters

Plant Capacity 500 MTPD
1300 Nm3/min (dry)
800 MTPD
2000 Nm3/min (dry)
Conversion: 97%
Conversion: 99.8%
Status Operating -
Year Built - -
Technology - -
Contractor - -
Remarks -
Pictures Onahama_Smelting-Iwaki-1.jpg (154369 bytes)  Onahama_Smelting-Iwaki-2.jpg (108858 bytes)  Onahama_Smelting-Iwaki-3.jpg (118597 bytes)  Onahama_Smelting-Iwaki-4.jpg (17931 bytes)  Onahama_Smelting-Iwaki-5.jpg (10957 bytes)
General Onahama Smelting and Refining Co., Ltd. as the first joint custom smelter was founded in 1963 in order to meet the steeply increasing demand for copper in Japan.  The new copper smelter and refinery complex is located in Iwaki City, in Fukushima Prefecture and started its production in 1965.   Since then, through sustainable development and several expansions, the plant has been operating as a clean and highly productive copper smelter and refinery yielding high-quality products.
References E. Oshima and T. Igarashi, "Recent Operation and Improvements at Onahama Smelter", The Paul E. Queneau International Symposium, Volume II, Copper and Nickel Smelter Operations, TMS, 1993, pp. 1319-1333.
News March 10, 2010 - Mitsubishi Materials Corp., Japan’s third-largest copper producer, may run its two domestic smelters at full capacity in the next fiscal year, in contrast to plans by two rivals to keep production cuts, an executive said.  “At the moment, that’s the plan,” Kenichi Watase, general manager in the Tokyo-based company’s sales department, said in an interview today. Watase declined to elaborate as the company expects to issue its output targets for April to September early next month. The producer planned to make 300,000 metric tons in the year ending March 31.  Prices of copper, used in pipes and cables, more than doubled in the past year as the global economy recovered from its worst postwar recession. BHP Billiton Ltd. and Freeport- McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. won a 38 percent cut in 2010 processing fees from smelters as raw material supplies tightened after China expanded capacity.  Pan Pacific Copper Co. and Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. have said they may keep production cuts in the year from April 1 because of the lower fees.  Mitsubishi Materials operates the Onahama smelter, to the north of Tokyo, with a capacity of 258,000 tons, and the Naoshima smelter, in western Japan, with 225,000 tons. The company has a 50 percent stake in the Onahama smelter.   The company “is flexible on adjusting production based on the market situation in coming months” given the reduced fees and uncertain demand outlook at home and abroad, Watase said. “We don’t know whether a recovery in demand from the auto sector will continue after subsidies end later this year.”
“After domestic demand plunged last year to the lowest level since 1975, we’ve seen a recovery in some sectors, including cars and semiconductors, not from overall industries,” in recent months, Watase said.  The Japanese government has extended the subsidy program, which was set to expire at the end of March, for six months through September. Electric, hybrid, natural-gas, and some diesel vehicles qualify for an exemption from the country’s weight and purchase taxes.  Exports to China “will depend on Chinese government policies and the price difference between the Shanghai market and the London Metal Exchange,” Watase said. “In my personal view, China’s demand growth would remain steady this year.”
Asked if Mitsubishi Materials saw any change in the market for sulfuric acid, a byproduct for copper smelting, Watase said demand has recovered from fertilizer makers and mining companies.  “We’ve seen good demand for the fertilizer sector in North America as the planting season for grain crops starts soon,” Watase said. Sulfuric acid supplies have been tight since early January as demand jumped after a recession slashed stockpiles held by fertilizer makers and mining, he said.  The value of sulfuric acid, used to dissolve metal ore and produce fertilizer, has gone from worthless to “crazy” this year, increasing costs for mining companies, according to London-based researcher CRU Group said.  Demand from fertilizer makers, normally about half of world sulfuric acid consumption, has risen as higher prices for their products prompted companies to rebuild stocks, Joanne Peacock, an analyst at CRU, said March 8.

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