The Thompson Smelter

CIM Bulletin, 1964

J. B. McConnell Smelter Superintendent, H. A. Maddison Smelter Metallurgist, The International Nickel Company of Canada, Ltd., Manitoba Division

This paper describes the nickel smelting operation of The International Nickel Company of Canada, Limited, at Thompson, Manitoba, under the major headings of Dewatering, Roasting, Electric Melting, and Converting, with minor mention of the auxiliary equipment. Nickel concentrate from the flotation circuit in the mill is pumped to the smelter. This pulp is thickened, filtered, mixed with suitable flux and fed to fluid bed roasters. Air injected into the roasters oxidizes a portion of the sulfur and iron in the feed. The heat produced in this reaction is used to 1neheat the furnace charge. The resulting hot calcine and heated flux is recovered by cyclones in the gas stream and through automatic dump valves in the roaster bed. The mixture drops by gravity into an insulated drag conveyor system that feeds the electric furnaces. The partially desulphurized roaster product is fed to the electric furnaces along each side wall through fettling pipes in the roof. In the furnaces, it melts, mixes with recycled converter slag, and separates into matte and s lag phases. The matte is tapped through the front end wall into ladles and transferred to the converters. The slag is tapped through the back end wall into the granulating system and pumped to the disposal area. In the converters, the iron is removed from the furnace matte and a high-grade nickel sulphide matte (Bessemer matte) is produced. As such, it is transferred by ladle to the refinery, where it is immediately cast into sulphide anodes in preparation for electrolytic refining.
Keywords: Air, Converters, Electric furnace, Electric furnaces, Furnaces, matte, Operating Converter Furnace, slag, smelter, Thompson, Manitoba, Roasters, Slag, Slags, smelter, Smelters