Copper smelting to the year 2000

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 73, No. 813, 1980

W.G. DAVENPORT, Professor of Metallurgy, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec

Methods of extracting copper are evaluated in terms of innovations during the 1970's, and predictions to the end of this century are made. It is concluded that between one and two new smelters and refineries will be needed per year until the turn of the century, and that most of these smelters will be of the oxygen or oxygen-enriched flash furnace type. For converting, the Peirce-Smith converter will still predominate, but the Hoboken converter will play an increasingly important role. Five Japanese pollution control systems are described and it is suggested that much of this technology will be included in future smelting installations. Further growth of hydro-metallurgy is predicted, especially for oxide ores, based on improved product metal quality and low plant cost. An increased level of scrap resmelting is also expected.
Keywords: Smelting, Copper smelting, Extractive metallurgy, Converters, Pollution control, Hydrometallurgy, Scrap resmelting, Noranda process, Mitsubishi process, Top-blown rotary converters, KIVCET process, Energy consumption, Sulpher dioxide control.