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About the 1996 TMS Annual Meeting: Wednesday Afternoon Sessions (February 7)

February 4-8 · 1996 TMS ANNUAL MEETING ·  Anaheim, California

TECHNICAL, ECONOMIC COMMERCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES OF SULFUR RECOVERY IN COPPER PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IV: Part 1: Economic and Environmental Effects of Sulfur Recovery Options; Part 2: Sulfur in Hydrometallurgical Copper Production Systems

Proceedings Info

Sponsored by: EPD Copper, Nickel, Cobalt Committee

Program Oranizers: Norbert L. Piret, Piret & Stolberg Partners, Im Licht 12, D-47279 Duisburg German; Ivan M. Santos Moraes, Caraíba Metais, Dias D'Ávila, Bahia, Brazil

Wednesday, PM Room: A11-12

February 7, 1996 Location: Anaheim Convention Center

Session Chairpersons: I. C. Knight, CRU International, 31 Mount Pleasant, London WC1X OAD Great Britain; P. B. Queneau, Hazen Research, Inc., 4601 Indiana Street Golden, CO 80403

2:00 pm Invited

EFFECTIVE SULFUR RECOVERY IN COPPER SMELTERS A BLESSING OR A BURDEN?: P. G. Gocht, H. J. König, P. Luedtke, D. Werner, Lurgi Metallurgie GmbH., Lurgiallee 5, D-60295 Frankfurt am Main Germany

In days gone by recovered SO2 from smelters was an appreciated valuable by-product. Once converted into H2SO4, it commanded good prices from industries producing fertilizer, sodium sulfate, glass, gypsum and detergents. Even the application of sophisticated technologies to reduce stack emissions did not adversely affect the cost of metal production. But the situation changed. The paper deals with last five years' market development of sulfur bearing commodities, reviewing their availability, quality, pricing, output opportunities and production costs effective parameters, as well as highlighting the difficulties in forecasting the future. It discusses the impact of current smelter operations on SO2 recovery including the smelter's sulfur balance and handling of fluctuating sulfur-bearing streams. It describes recently developed processes and some advanced and long-known developments which might be applicable in the future, their progress, costs and by-product treatment.

2:30 pm


With the increasing use of oxygen smelting, economic production of elemental sulfur, liquid SO2 and sulfuric acid are viable choices for handling and disposing of the sulfur values rejected by the smelter. This paper reviews the modern processes for production of each product, discusses advantages and disadvantages of each route, and presents capital and operating costs showing the effect of variables, i.e. SO2 gas strength, energy cost, natural gas or other SO2 reductant cost, oxygen cost, etc.

2:55 pm

THE SULFUR PROBLEM IN THE METALLURGICAL INDUSTRY: Fathi Habashi, Department of Mining and Metallurgy, Laval University, Quebec City, Canada G1 K 7P4

During the recovery of copper, nickel, zinc, and lead from their sulfide ores, large amounts of sulfur dioxide are generated. A fraction of this gas is captured and transformed into sulfuric acid and liquid SO2 and the remainder is emitted to the atmosphere. Numerous proposals were made to solve this problem. Hydrometallurgy offers the only valid solution by which elemental sulfur instead of sulfur dioxide can be produced. Sulfur can be easily stored, transported long distances, or transformed into SO2 and H2SO4 when desired.

3:20 pm BREAK

3:40 pm Invited

BIOOXIDATION OF COPPER SULFIDES-ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS: Richard Poulin, Richard W. Lawrence, Dept of Mining and Mineral Process Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Oxidation of copper sulfides using biological leaching offers a potential route for copper recovery. Oxidation of sulfide sulfur can proceed either to sulfate or to elemental sulfur depending on mineralogy and process conditions. The advances in commercial application of biooxidation for sulfidic gold ores has made available operating and cost data which allow the derivation of conceptual costs for copper ore processing for comparison with conventional processing routes. Although costs for copper biooxidation generally remain high relative to conventional smelting, application might be competitive in specific cases. Biooxidation becomes more competitive in the general case if the cost of SO2 emissions in pyrometallurgical processing were to be internalized to a greater degree than currrently required. This paper describes the technical aspects of biological processing of copper sulfide ores and concentrates, specifically with respect to the fate of sulfur. The environmental and economic implications of the biooxidation route are then discussed in relation to conventional processing.

4:10 pm

BEHAVIOR OF SULFUR DURING LEACHING OF SULFIDIC MINERAL: Thomas Havlik, Roland Kammel, Department of Non-ferrous Metallurgy, Faculty of Metallurgy, Technical University, Letna 91A, 04385 Kosice, Slovak Republik

It is proposed to realise the direct leaching, during which will be generated elemental sulfur and not sulfate or sulfuric acid as endproduct, under conditions that sulfur will not cover the leaching surface and not hinder the leaching course. The following improvements have been considered; use of organic sulfur solvents, ultra high-frequency leaching, ultrasonic leaching, use of surface detergents or surfactants in leaching processes, simultaneously crushing and leaching. These proposals are under investigation and preliminary results are promising.

4:35 pm Invited

SULFUR IN THE INTEC COPPER PROCESS: P K Everett, Intec Pty. Ltd, 21 Smith Street, Chatswood NSW 2067 Australia

One of the major driving forces behind the development of the Intec Copper Process has been the increasingly stringent regulations governing SO2 emissions and, in some parts of the world, a declining H2SO4 market. Other incentives include operating cost (92 US c/lb Cu), capital cost (US$ 1,400/annual tonne) and the ability to treat low grade and contaminated concentrates. With such advantageous features, widespread use of the process would lead to the production of large amounts of residues containing around 25 % elemental sulfur together with akaganeite (FeOOH) and the originai gangue. This paper briefly describes the process chemistry involved in the formation of elemental sulfur and the investigations to either extract it or otherwise turn the residue into a valuable by- product and minimise any adverse environmental effects. The process is being developed jointly by a group of 15 major Mining Companies.

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