Process development and the zinc-lead blast furnace

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 810, 1979

C. F. HARRIS, Research Manager, Imperial Smelting Processes Limited, Bristol, England

Following the initial development of the zinc-lead blast furnace, efforts have been directed both at increasing the scope of the process and increasing the cash return. The paper reviews the process developments which enable the process to smelt efficiently a range of material which encompasses high-grade zinc sulphide concentrates, mixed concentrates, Waelz oxide, zinc ashes and other materials blended to give a furnace feed ranging from 25 to 65% zinc and from 1 to 25% lead, with a copper-lead ratio exceeding 1 to 8. The paper also reviews the process developments which have enabled the capacity of a furnace and condenser system of standard size to be boosted from 30,000 to 80,000 tonnes/annum.The benefits achieved are used as a justification for continuation of the development of the zinc-lead blast furnace. Predictions are made of the benefits expected from further developments.
Keywords: Process metallurgy, Non-ferrous processes, Zinc smelting, Lead smelting, Blast furnaces, Imperial Smelting Process, Bell gears, Condensers, Sintering, Leaching, Copper recovery.