The influence of concentrate grade on the performance of a copper flash smelting furnace

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 86, No. 971, 1993

J. W. Matousek, Kilborn International, Inc. Englewood, Colorado

More copper concentrates are treated in flash smelting furnaces than by any other process, and such furnaces are located in most of the world's major copper producing areas. Except for perhaps two furnaces treating chalcocite-type materials, little difference is seen between the grades of the concentrates being smelted. Within individual smelters, even less variation in feed grades is found. This is both accidental and intended. Many furnaces treat concentrates from captive ores, and these tend to be of relatively constant composition over long periods. Toll smelting operations blend concentrates to ensure delivery of feeds of fixed compositions to their furnaces to avoid upset conditions. Matte grades vary between flash smelting furnaces, but most commonly, these are the result of differences in operating practices rather than because of differences in concentrate grades. This paper reviews an industrial flash smelting test in which the copper content of the furnace feed was intentionally altered over a wide range.
Keywords: Flash smelting furnaces, Copper smelting, Furnaces, Grade concentrate.