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

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Acid Plant Database  January 4, 2020

Owner Codelco Norte

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Location Chuquicamata
Background -


Plant No. 1 Plant No. 2 Plant No. 3 Plant No. 4 Plant
Coordinates 22º 18' 52" S, 68º 53' 11" W 22º 18' 56" S, 68º 53' 13" W 22º 18' 57" S, 68º 53' 13" W 22º 18' 55" S, 68º 53' 7" W
Type of Plant Metallurgical Metallurgical Metallurgical Metallurgical
Gas Source Cu Cu Cu Cu
Plant Capacity 720 MTPD 2040 MTPD 2040 MTPD 2040 MTPD
SA/DA 4 SA 4 SA 4 SA 4 SA
Status Shutdown 1998 Operating Operating Operating
Year Built 1970 1988 1990 1992
Technology MECS Lurgi (Outotec) Lurgi (Outotec) Lurgi (Outotec)
Contractor Panamerican Engineering Mitsubishi Mitsubishi Mitsubishi
Remarks Plant originally built as a sulphur burner (139,000 MTPA).  1983 plant rerated to 171,000 MTPA and connected to Teniente Reactor. - - -
New Acid Plants

New Plant 1

New Plant 2
Coordinates 22° 18' 55" S, 68° 53' 5" W 22° 18' 59" S, 68° 53' 6" W
Type of Plant Metallurgical Metallurgical
Gas Source Cu Cu
Plant Capacity 2048 MTPD 2048 MTPD
Status Operating Operating
Year Built 2019 2019
Technology MECS MECS
Contractor SNC Lavalin SNC Lavalin
Remarks Contract Section only Contact Section only

General -
References -
News March 25, 2019 - Codelco informed this morning its decision to terminate the contract with SNC Lavalin early on, due to the serious breach of contractual milestones that the company has incurred in the construction of acid plants for the Chuquicamata Smelter, works that are key to adapt the emissions to DS No. 28. Among the non-compliances, are the delay in payments to its subcontractors, delays in the execution of the project and problems in the quality of the works, among others.  Codelco developed six major projects to raise the standard of the Chuquicamata complex, including the construction of two new acid plants, which was awarded in November 2016 to the SNC Lavalin company. The contract for an approximate amount of US$260 million included the detailed engineering, the supply of equipment and the construction and assembly of the same (EPC).  Through a letter sent to the company this morning, the Corporation reproached him for the serious and repeated breach of the obligations imposed by the contract. It should be noted that Codelco made several attempts to resolve the difficulties that the project was experiencing, the last of which was last February.  In the near future, Codelco will begin the transfer of the first new acid plant to the Chuquicamata smelter to begin the empty tests, adjustments and resolution of conditions that guarantee a safe operation.  Subsequently, with an estimated difference of 15 to 20 days, the operation will be normalized with the entry into operation of the second sulfuric acid plant and its review process for each part and adjustments to the set for an adequate operational condition.

February 27, 2019 - Chilean copper giant Codelco's Chuquicamata smelter is expected to restart operations in April after shutting down in December for upgrade works needed to comply with new emissions rules, local press reported.  New regulation came into effect in Chile on December 13 requiring copper smelters to capture at least 95% of the arsenic present in emissions gases. Codelco had been working for some time on a US$2bn program to upgrade its four smelters but works were not complete at Chuquicamata or the Salvador division smelters by that date and both were halted. Half of the total investment is going to Chuquicamata.  The upgrade program had originally been estimated to require US$1bn.  Codelco "believes we will be in a position to start the launch at the beginning of April, making the necessary efforts to absorb the effects of the meteorological events of early February," a Codelco representative said, according to local daily Mercurio de Calama. The Chuquicamata mine and other copper operations in northern Chile were halted due to heavy rains at the beginning of the month.  Works at the Chuqui smelter include the construction of two acid plants. During the smelter stoppage, Codelco has been forced to sell copper concentrates, leading to daily losses of US$41mn, the paper reported. Codelco was not immediately available for comment.  Chuquicamata produced 137,000t in 1H18 and is undergoing an underground conversion to expand production and extend its life, which is Codelco's most advanced strategic project.

March 31, 2017
- MECS Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of DuPont, has been selected to supply the sulfuric acid production technology for two new plants belonging to Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco), the world's largest copper producer. The MECS technology will treat off-gas from the Chuquicamata Copper Smelter Complex in the Antofagasta region of northern Chile.  Longtime MECS partner, SNC-Lavalin, will provide detailed engineering, procurement and construction services for the new plants each of which is expected to produce 2048 t/d of market-grade sulfuric acid. These plants will replace existing facilities which have become environmentally obsolete.  "MECS technology for Chuquicamata will be designed and custom-built to address the site's specific needs, especially achieving world-class low emissions and high reliability," said Kirk Schall, executive vice president, MECS. "We are delighted that our best-in-class sulfuric acid production technology will help Codelco's Chuquicamata site realize its short- and long-term emissions targets while supporting the sustainable production of the Antofagasta region's most valuable resources. MECS looks forward to partnering with both Codelco and SNC through start-up and with Codelco throughout the life of the new facilities."  Construction of the two new plants will begin in 2017 and is expected to be completed the following year.

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