Pyrometallurgical processing of Stillwater concentrates

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 82, No. 926, 1989

J. W. Matousek, Tolltreck International Ltd. P.J. Marcantonio, Chevron Research Company R.J. Phillips, International Process Research Corp. J.G. Whellock, Tolltreck International Ltd.

Stillwater Mining Company (SMC), a partnership of Chevron Resources and Manville Corporation, produces a copper-nickel, platinum-palladium flotation concentrate at its Nye, Montana mine. The concentrate is then toll processed in Europe. Recognizing the economic advantage of treating the concentrates at the mine site and of retaining this strategic resource in the United States, the Company commissioned Tolltreck International Limited and International Process Research Corporation to conduct pilot scale smelting tests with a flowsheet that would maximize metal recoveries while satisfying the environmental requirements of operations at Stillwater. Primary smelting was conducted in a single phase, 50 kW, submerged-arc, electric furnace. Refining the product mattes to copper-nickel "white-metal", containing approximately 2% iron, was accomplished in a Tolltreck, 10-litre, top blown rotary converter. Over-all platinum and palladium recoveries were approximately 99%; copper and nickel recoveries averaged 94%.
Mots Clés: Pyrometallurgy, Ore Recovery, Smelting tests, Pilot plant smelting.