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Copper Melting and Refining

MONOMETER’s latest installation in the Ural Mountains of the Russian federation has been successfully completed with commissioning to be carried out over the next few months.

Monometer has undertaken the complete design and layout of the installation. The Russian company has been producing Copper granules from high grade copper scrap, which were then processed to form copper sulphate. However, the new Monometer refining rotary furnace installation now allows granule production from lower grade and lower cost Birch/ Cliff scrap, by refining the copper to in the region of 99.8 to 99.9% purity. The purity of copper product from the low grade scrap charged into the furnace and refined now exceeds the purity of product previously obtained from higher purity scraps that were melted and poured without refining. This greatly widens the client’s options for charge materials, assisting margins and scope for final product diversity.

For example, where copper carbonate can be formed using the second or third mother liquor from the copper sulphate process, the equipment used to produce copper carbonate can usually be used to produce tribasic copper sulphate or copper hydrate. Tri basic copper sulphate (CuSO4·3(Cu(OH)2·H2O) is a fungicide typically applied as a spray or dust formulation on agricultural crops. Depending on the climate it can also serve as an insecticide and miticide for citrus crops and has been used on tomatoes and peppers, among other crops. Copper carbonate, tribasic copper sulphate and copper hydrate are all value added products compared to copper sulphate where there is access to an adequately sized market. In addition, with copper purities now obtainable meeting standards for electrical applications, copper from the furnace may be cast to ingots and marketed accordingly. In this area of Russia the outside temperature may reach -40 deg C in the winter so the whole plant including the filter system has been designed to operate inside. This innovative project deploys the use of efficient Monometer Rotary technology incorporating the refinement of Oxyfuel burners and porous plug diffusion. This is an opportunity to combine Monometer expertise in close partnership with the experts in the field of copper granule production. Monometer supplied the turnkey installation including the furnace system, charger and bag house filter system – specifically targeting the elimination of copper dust from the hygiene air surrounding the furnace. The work is part of the modernisation programme of a local company. The copper converter plant is made up of a 5.5-tonne liquid copper Monometer rotary tilting furnace and refractory lining, which cycles in 4 – 6 hours. The design includes the furnace charging system, porous gas diffusion technology for the refining process, Oxyfuel burner system, exhaust filter for all particulates and fines including hooding, settler, bag filter, exhaust and all ducts, also the fluxing agents injector, and consumable spare parts. The challenges of meeting the Russian import documentation including GOST certification were handled in the offices at Monometer House.

The photograph shows overall layout of the installation just before commissioning

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