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

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Sulphuric Acid Plant Specifications

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Acid Plant Database  August 29, 2017

Owner Southern Copper Corporation

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Location 17 kilometers north of the city of Ilo
Background Formerly
1952 - Company founded
1960 - Smelter commissioned
1994 -
Southern Peru Copper Corporation sole bidder for Minero Peru S.A.'s180,000 t/y copper refinery (US$68.5 million)
1999 - Groupo Mexico becomes majority shareholder of SPCC
2005 - Southern Peru Copper Corporation changes its name to Southern Copper Corporation


Plant Plant No. 1 Plant No. 2
Coordinates 17º 29' 51" S, 71º 21' 42" W 17º 29' 53" S, 71º 21' 45" W
Type of Plant Metallurgical
Gas Source Copper
Peirce-Smith Converters (4) (13' dia x 35' L)
Hot Gas Cleaing IsaSmelt Furnace: Waste Heat Boiler - Hot ESP - ID Fan - Mixing Chamber

Pierce-Smith Converters: Evaporative Cooling Chambers - Manifold - Hot ESP (2) - ID Fan (2) - Mixing Chamber

Wet Gas Cleaning - Quench Venturi - Retention Vessel - Venturi Scrubber (Variable Throat) - Packed Gas Cooling Tower - WESP

Quench Venturi: Brick-lined carbon steel
Retention Vessel: FRP
WESP: GEA Bischoff
Sodium Silicate System

Plant Capacity 1049 MTPD
91,449 Nm3/h (wet)
3181 MTPD
267,847 Nm3/h (wet)
SO2: 11.34%
Conversion: 96.5%
3/1 DA
SO2: 13.0%, O2: 13.0%
Conversion: 99.82%
Catalyst: BASF
Emissions - SO2: 300 ppmv
Acid Mist: 40 mg/Nm3
Status Operating Operating
Year Built 1995 2007
Technology Chemetics Aker Solutions - Chemetics
Contractor Chemetics/Davy Kvaerner

Original capacity: 568 MTPD
Design included the ability to double plant capacity.
1998 plant expanded to double production.
Cost: US$103 million (1)

No. 1 Plant operates at steady rate (base load)

Acid Storage: 2 x 8000 tonnes

Gas cleaning and acid plant plot area = 6900 m2
Plot Area: 56 m x 145 m = 8120 m2

The ISASMELT™ furnace replaced two reverberatory furnaces and a Teniente converter for treatment of 1,200,000 tpa of concentrate. Two rotary holding furnaces are used for separating matte and slag product from the ISASMELT™ furnace. A waste heat boiler and electrostatic precipitator are used to cool and clean the gas before passing it to a sulfuric acid plant. Peirce Smith converters are used for converting the matte to blister copper.

No. 2 Plant capacity fluctuates with operation of IsaSmelt and PS Converters

NOx Treatment System: Stripper
Blowers: 2 x 65%, Siemens, SFO-14, 2650 kW motor
Converter: 15.3 m dia., SS, internal Hot HX
Cold Exchanger: 5.4 m dia. x 15 m high, ~2700 tubes
Inter and Final SO3 Coolers
Drying Acid System: 96 wt%
Absorber Acid System: 98.5 wt%
Intermediate Tower: 8.9 m dia.
Acid Pumps: External vertical Lewis pumps
Acid Piping: Saramet
Cooling Water: Sea water

Effluent Treatment
- ETP1 is designed for 2 wt% H2SO4 maximum, 27 m3/h

- ETP2 is designed for 3 wt% H2SO4 maximum, 43 m3/h
- two stage neutralization, milk of lime and ferric sulphate
- first stage: pH raised to 11.5 in 2 steps
- recycle used to increase particle size
- Arsenic reduced to 25-50 ppmw in initial neutralization.  Second stage of arsenic removal is done by addition of ferric sulphate and pH is adjusted to 8.5

Acid Storage: 2 x 22,500 tonnes
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General Smelter originally started in 1960. Smelting facilities consisted of two reverberatory furnaces and four P-S converters.
Smelter expanded in 1976 with two additional reverberatory furnace and three P-S converters.  One of the original reverberatory furnaces was taken out of service and demolished.
Smelter expanded in 1995 with a Teniente converter.  1995 sulphur dioxide capture was 30%. 
After 2007 modernization and expansion sulphur dioxide capture was over 92%.

LEPSA has been attending SOUTHERN PERU COPPER CORPORATION (SPCC), from the beginning of its activities.  Working together with the consultant company, AKER KVAERNER CHEMETICS, we have participated in the NEW SULPHURIC ACID PLANT PROJECT for SPCC (ILO-PERU), manufacturing and installing FRP Ducts of Ø 104, 102, 96 and 94 inches for interconnection tanks.  To satisfy our client and consultant company, we have accomplished the deadlines established for manufacturing and delivery of documented engineering.  SPCC commissioned to G&M contractor the 100% of the work of installing the FRP Ducts and Piping and LEPSA was subcontracted from them to do all the FRP ducting and piping field welds.  www.lepsa.com

References 1. Canadian Minerals Yearbook 1995
2. Jurado, K. and Wright, J., "Southern Peru's Ilo Smelter - Modernization and Environmental Improvements", Sulphur 2009, Vancouver, Canada, November 8-11, 2009, pp. 43-53.
News August 29, 2017 - Jacobs Engineering Group was selected by Southern Peru Copper to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for its No. 1 Acid Plant upgrade project.  SPCC operates one of the world’s largest copper smelting/refinery facilities in Ilo, Peru, which is located approximately 600 miles south of Lima.  Jacobs will perform modifications to the existing acid plant, decreasing its sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions while increasing sulphuric acid production capacity through the use of Jacobs’ Chemetics sulphuric acid technology.  “Our successful relationship with Southern Peru Copper Corp. (SPCC) spans more than 20 years,” said Jacobs Mining & Minerals and Specialty Chemicals Senior Vice President and General Manager Andrew Berryman. “We will provide our innovative Chemetics acid plant technology for this project, complementing the two existing plants our teams previously executed at the site, to further reduce SO2 emissions.  ”In addition to the No. 1 Acid Plant project, Jacobs is performing a feasibility study for SPCC in Lima for its power distribution system that will enable the company to support future demand.

July 5, 2013
- Southern Copper Corp is considering closing its foundry and refinery in southern
Peru because it does not think it will be able to meet tighter pollution standards, according to a company document.  The global miner, a unit of Grupo Mexico, said in an email circulated among employees this week that it is impossible to comply with limits on sulfur dioxide emissions that take effect at the start of 2014.  Reuters obtained a copy of the email. A source at the company confirmed the document's authenticity.  It is unclear how such a closure would affect the company's annual copper output, which the firm has estimated at about 650,000 tonnes this year.  Southern Copper said in the email that while the government has extended the deadline for complying with the stricter pollution standard, the technology that would enable the company to comply "does not exist."  "In our case it is possible that we see ourselves forced to close the foundry and refinery in Ilo," said the email, signed by Chairman and Chief Executive Oscar Gonzalez.  Peru's environment ministry, which introduced the new air quality standards, was not available for immediate comment. But in an April press release it said the new rules were reasonable and long overdue.  "The technology for reducing sulfur dioxide emissions has been around for many years. Unfortunately, in our country it was introduced long after our industrial plants and refineries started operating," the press release said.  Some 2,500 people work at Southern Copper's units in Cuajone, Toquepala and Ilo.

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