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

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Sulphuric Acid on the Web

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Handbook of Sulphuric Acid Manufacturing
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Sulphuric Acid Plant Specifications
 

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Acid Plant Database  July 9, 2014

Owner Palabora Mining Company

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Location South Africa
Background Member of the world-wide Rio Tinto Group www.riotinto.com
Website

www.palabora.com

Plant -
Coordinates* 23° 58' 42" S, 31° 9' 24" E
Type of Plant Metallurgical
Gas Source

Copper
Converters only

Plant Capacity 2002: 1300 MTPD
SA/DA SA
Status Operating
Year Built -
Technology -
Contractor -
Remarks The reverberatory furnace off gas (approx. 0.5% SO2) is vented into the atmosphere.   The sulphuric acid is sold to a nearby fertiliser manufacturer.
2002: Hugo
Pictures  
General Palabora Mining Company Limited extracts and beneficiates copper and vermiculite from its mines in the Limpopo Province. The company was incorporated in South Africa in August 1956. It is South Africa’s only producer of refined copper. The mining of the company’s copper ore-body commenced in 1956. During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the company’s open-pit copper mine and associated processing plants produced over 2, 7 million tones of copper.
 
During the early 1990s, the company embarked on a series of feasibility studies on underground mine. In 1996, it announced that it would proceed with the development of an underground block caving mine with a production rate of 30 000 tonnes per day.

Dried concentrate is blended with fine quartz flux and reverts, then charged into a reverbatory furnace, which operates at a temperature of 1500ºC.   The smelted material settles into two separate layers in the furnace bath - matte (the heavier, containing the copper, at the bottom) and slag. The slag is skimmed off and dumped for possible future re-treatment.

The matte contains about 45% copper as well as iron and sulphur. It is transferred to converter furnaces where air is blown through the molten material. This oxidises the iron and some of the sulphur. Silica flux is added, forming an iron rich slag, which is skimmed off and returned to the reverbatory furnace.

Once all the iron has been removed, further blowing oxidises the rest of the sulphur, producing "blister" copper that is about 95 - 98% pure. The blister copper is transferred to anode furnaces where the last traces of sulphur are removed by blowing air through the molten metal. Finally, reductant is injected into the furnace to remove any remaining oxygen giving copper to a purity of 99.5% that is cast into copper anodes.

A melting/holding furnace is used to supplement production by melting anode scrap returned from the refining process.

References Hugo Petersen reference list
News -

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