Tag Archives: smelting

Boliden invests $160 million in leaching plant, underground repository at Rönnskär

Boliden has opened a new leaching plant and underground repository at its Rönnskär operations in Sweden as it looks to extract additional metal from residual materials at the smelter and store any remaining waste in a sustainable way.

For many years, residual materials from smelting processes containing copper, zinc and lead, among other elements, have been stored temporarily at the Rönnskär site.

These residual materials, together with future residues from production, will from this point pass through the newly built leaching plant where further metal extraction will take place. The remaining material will then be transported straight down to the underground repository, which is located about 350 m below the site.

This will see Rönnskär become the only copper smelter in the world with a long-term, sustainable on-site storage solution, according to Boliden.

Investments in the two facilities have amounted to SEK 1.4 billion ($160 million), Boliden says.

Daniel Peltonen, President Boliden Smelters, says: “Our aim is to extract as much metal as possible from our raw materials while ensuring the best achievable environmental and climate performance. The investments we have now made represent a new chapter in Rönnskär’s history in both of these areas.”

Rönnskär produced 226,000 t of copper, along with 33,000 of zinc clinker, 28,000 t of lead, 506,000 t of sulphuric acid, 524,000 kg of silver and 14,000 kg of gold last year, according to Boliden.

AFRY strengthens its digital offering with ProTAK acquisition

Engineering, consulting and design company AFRY is to expand its digital offering for process industries with the acquisition of Sweden-based ProTAK.

ProTAK’s web-based software for production optimisation will support AFRY’s strategic ambition within digitalisation and sustainability, as well as further strengthen the AFRY Smart Site digital product portfolio further, AFRY said.

“ProTAK’s web-based software is designed for production process continuous improvement and aims to increase production efficiency,” it explained. “The software measures the effectiveness of industrial plant’s machines to enable analysis and optimisation of the production processes. Together with AFRY’s production support software, AFRY Pulse, this will improve process industry customer production even further.”

The acquisition follows the purchase of ITE Østerhus AS earlier in the month, a Norway-based company that specialises in electrical engineering, automation and digitalisation for industrial customers. ITE Østerhus’ largest market areas are smelting plants and process and food industries.

David Andersson, Manager of Business Unit Digitalisation, AFRY Process Industries, in Sweden, said of ProTAK acquisition: “There is a strong demand for digital solutions within the process industry sector to reach sustainability goals by improved production efficiency. With this co-operation, we can jointly develop our offering further to support our customers even better in this constantly changing environment.

“We see great potential and synergies by combining the expertise and digital offering from both companies.”

Per Gannå, CEO at ProTAK, said becoming part of AFRY would allow the company to further develop its products and expand its offering to global clients.

“We have developed the digital offering and are now ready to take the step to the next level,” Gannå said. “We look forward to the opportunities we can create together.”

Metso Outotec to modernise Norilsk Nickel’s Nadezhda smelting line

Metso Outotec has been awarded a landmark contract by PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel to modernise one of the company’s two existing smelting lines at their Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant in Norilsk, Russia.

The contract value is approximately €90 million ($110 million), and the order has been booked in Metso Outotec’s December quarter 2020 order intake.

Metso Outotec’s contract includes engineering and delivery of a nickel flash smelting furnace and a heat recovery boiler with related automation and advanced digital products.

Replacing the existing smelting line with the latest process technology and furnace structures will significantly increase the line’s capacity and availability, reduce metal losses and ease maintenance, according to the mining OEM. The new line will also allow for the easy connection and efficient operation with potential future sulphuric acid production and neutralisation projects. The delivery of the equipment will take place during the first half of 2022.

Sergey Dubovitsky, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Strategic Projects, Logistics & Procurement at Norilsk Nickel, said: “Metso Outotec is a long-term partner of Norilsk Nickel, supplying state-of-the-art equipment and technologies. Our cooperation allows us to solve the most important production and technological issues, such as increasing the reliability and efficiency of production.”

Jari Ålgars, President of Metso Outotec’s Metals business area, added: “Norilsk Nickel operates the world’s largest nickel and palladium deposit in Russia. We are very committed to our long partnership with Norilsk Nickel, and we are pleased to have been awarded the contract to modernise their smelting line at Nadezhda. Our unique process expertise and sustainable technologies enable the design and delivery of a world-class smelting process that meets today’s and future production requirements.”

Metso Outotec is a leading supplier of smelting technology, with about 40 operational smelting lines around the world. The company claims its Flash Smelting Process is the cleanest smelting method available, giving high recovery of metals with low investment and operating costs.

Minespider to provide responsible mineral tracking for LuNa Smelter

Minespider, a blockchain protocol for responsible mineral tracking, and LuNa Smelter, a responsible tin producer in Kigali, Rwanda, have partnered to implement Minespider’s OreSource tool, starting this month.

OreSource, which is being developed under the grant awarded to Minespider by EIT Raw Materials earlier this year, is a blockchain-based due diligence tool for mines and smelters, helping them to capture key information that European Union importers require to comply with the new EU Conflict Mineral Regulation, coming into force in January 2021.

Smelters upload the data required into a digital blockchain certificate and, by affixing a QR code to a mineral shipment, or to an invoice, the recipients of the materials receive all the data they need to ensure their compliance with the EU regulation, secured on Minespider’s public blockchain protocol.

LuNa is the first Responsible Minerals Assurance Process conformant tin smelter in Africa, producing high-quality tin ingots and other minerals recovered from the refining process, such as tantalum concentrate, Minespider says. The ore is partially procured from LuNa’s own operational sites, as well as third parties who are compliant with LuNa’s strict internal environmental and social standards.

LuNa Smelter will pilot OreSource in Rwanda, together with the support and guidance of the Responsible Minerals Initiative and Rwandan Mines, Petroleum, and Gas Board (RMB).

“The industry is still unsure about how to comply with the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation,” Olena Wiaderna, Director of Sustainability and Supply Chain Due Diligence at LuNa Smelter, said. “OreSource will give us a tool to provide the information that is required, and help European importers collect the required data.”

RMB sees the project as an important step in redesigning the mining industry and transforming mining resources into key drivers of the country’s growth, according to Minespider.

“The board has already deployed different due diligence measures, including the development of tag managers at mining sites to seal and track the minerals extracted,” Minespider added. “This maintains the transparency of the supply chains and reduces the risk of potential illegal trade in minerals.”

RMB believes that this digital identification of minerals may offer upstream companies more direct compensation in exchange for demonstrating responsible mining practices, while optimising the actual cost.

Francis Gatare, the CEO of RMB, said: “This comes as a confirmation to what we have always known: Rwanda is a conflict-free source of minerals, and, by LuNa Smelter pioneering blockchain in minerals tracking in Rwanda, we’re taking another big step forward for the Rwandan mining sector.”

Google will provide input and offer industry expertise to ensure OreSource is aligned with importer and manufacturer requirements, Minespider said.

The pair have previously implemented a traceability project, tracking tin from the mine to the end user, along with other consortium members such as Volkswagen, and the Peruvian mining company Minsur.

“The cooperation with LuNa Smelter and Minespider will further Google’s engagement in responsible sourcing practices for 3TGs in the Great Lakes region,” Minespider said.

Nathan Williams, Minespider’s CEO, explained: “Historically, companies like LuNa Smelter, who pioneer responsible sourcing in exceptionally challenging environments, have been at a disadvantage. Their due diligence incurs costs that are not reflected in the world market’s metal prices. OreSource gives such companies the opportunity to stand out, and to provide their customers due diligence information as an additional service.”

Boliden to up Rönnskär smelter raw material processing capacity

Boliden is continuing to invest in its Rönnskär copper smelter in Sweden, with plans to fund a SEK350 million ($38.9 million) expansion to increase raw material processing capacity by 12%.

The investment in new production capacity, which is expected to be commissioned at the start of 2021, follows the ongoing SEK1.4 billion investment programme in the deep repository and leaching plant at Rönnskär, which began in 2015 and continues until 2020.

Boliden’s latest investment is in the converter aisle and sulphuric acid plant at Rönnskär. The capacity to process raw materials at Rönnskär will increase 12% following this investment, Boliden said.

Kerstin Konradsson, President Boliden Smelters, said: “The ongoing investment programme at Rönnskär means both improved resource utilisation and increased capacity. The investment we have now decided on shows goods profitability and means that we strengthen the smelter’s long-term competitiveness.”

In addition to the already announced investment at Rönnskär, decisions have been made to replace the existing slag crusher with the aim of improving the possibilities to return slag products to processes both at Rönnskär and in the Boliden area’s concentrator.

Boliden says Rönnskär, in Skelleftehamn, is one of the world’s most efficient copper smelters. It is a world leader in electronics recycling thanks to investments and developments in Kaldo technology, according to the company.

The smelter extracts primarily copper, gold and silver from these materials, with 219,000 t of copper, 34,000 t of zinc clinker, 28,000 t of lead, 505,000 t of sulphuric acid, 484,906 kg of silver and 13,109 kg of gold produced last year.