A study of copper smelting reverberatory furnace design and performance and methods available for increasing throughput

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 73, No. 817, 1980

M.G. BURGHER Senior Metallurgical Engineer Seltrust Engineering Limited,, London, England, J.G. EACOTT, Vice-President, Questor Engineering Limited, Toronto, Ontario, M.A.T. COCQUEREL, Consulting Metallurgist, Nchanga Consolidated Copper Mines Limited, Chingola, Zambia

This paper is based on work carried out to examine the feasibility of increasing the smelting rate of two oil-fired calcine-charged reverberatory furnaces. Various constraints prevented physical enlargement of the furnaces and so attention turned to the use of preheated combustion air or oxygen enrichment to bring about the required increase in production. As a basis for further calculation, a furnace heat balance is determined using the smelting metallurgy and combustion data for the current operation. Various other operation! data are tabulated and compared with similar data from other operating copper smelters.New heat balances are derived for various levels of combustion air preheat at the current smelting rate, and the effects of air preheat on oil consumption, combustion air and waste gas volumes are tabulated. These data are used to demonstrate the level of increased throughput which would be obtained before constraints in existing gas handling equipment are encountered.A similar exercise for oxygen enrichment is set out, with oil consumption, combustion air and waste gas volumes at various enrichment levels tabulated for the current smelting rate. These data are in turn used to demonstrate the smelting rate which would be achieved at a practical level of enrichment before waste heat boiler and gas handling constraints are encountered.The energy implications for both cases are summarized.
Keywords: Pyrometallurgy, Non-ferrous pyrometallurgy, Copper smelting, Reverberatory furnaces, Heat balances, Oxygen enrichment, Slag technology, Air preheat, Energy utilization.