First Quantum contracts MESC for new copper off-gas recovery sulphuric acid plant at Kansanshi

Global copper company First Quantum Minerals Ltd has contracted with MECS Inc, a subsidiary of Elessent Clean Technologies, for the Kansanshi Smelter Expansion at the Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi, Zambia. The MECS scope will include a redesign of the existing sulphur-burning sulphuric acid plant into a copper smelter off-gas recovery sulphuric acid plant.

This transition to a copper smelter off-gas recovery acid plant will enable First Quantum to reduce emissions from the existing copper smelter, increase production at the mine, and supply more copper to the global market which will enable the adoption of greener technologies.

“The expansion of the Kansanshi Mine and transition to a smelter off-gas recovery sulphuric acid plant is an integral step to the extended life of the mining operation. It was important for Kansanshi and First Quantum to embark on this expansion by using environmentally sound practices, and MECS is honoured to play a part in this project. The MECS technology, products and equipment used in the plant’s design are world-class and will ensure their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility are met,” said Brian Blair, MECS Global Licensing Manager, Elessent.

The MECS sulphuric acid design for First Quantum incorporates state-of-the-art products and technologies, such as MECS catalyst for low emissions and high conversion, Brink mist eliminators for superior mist elimination and ZeCor alloy towers, ZeCor pump tank and UniFlo acid distributor technology for operational reliability and efficiency. The sulphuric acid plant conversion will also facilitate increased capacity for First Quantum to better serve their clients, as well as benefit the region by contributing to a more competitive and cleaner global supply chain of copper and gold.

“Supporting the Kansanshi Smelter Expansion with First Quantum and the Kansanshi Mine has been an exciting opportunity. Not only is MECS helping to extend the life of the mine and optimise operations, but we are also in a unique position to help make a tremendously positive impact on the environment by helping reduce emissions,” said Eli Ben-Shoshan, CEO, Elessent.

Startup of the Kansanshi Smelter Expansion at the mine site in Solwezi, Zambia is expected to take place in 2025. The MECS sulphuric acid technology has been in use for nearly a century in the phosphate fertiliser, non-ferrous metals (leaching & smelting), oil refining and general chemical industries. MECS technologies feature breakthrough solutions, many of which have revolutionised the performance, quality and cost-effectiveness of customer operations. They include MECS heat recovery systems (HRS), MECS SolvR regenerative SO2 scrubbing and MECS MAX3 sulphuric acid production technology.

Integrated into these MECS technologies are proven specialty products such as catalysts, Brink mist eliminators, DynaWave scrubbers, ZeCor corrosion resistant alloy products, and acid coolers all of which are specifically designed for the most demanding operating environments. Marketed by Elessent Clean Technologies, the MECS technology it says is the world-leading sulphuric acid production technology with more than 1,000 sulphuric acid plant licenses and projects.