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Home Georgian Technologies Efficient Technology for Copper Sulphide Concentrate Pyrometallurgical Processing

Efficient Technology for Copper Sulphide Concentrate Pyrometallurgical Processing


The main raw materials for non-ferrous metallurgy, in particular, for copper production are sulphide ores and concentrates. Classical pyrometallurgy has been constituted the basis of this branch up to now, in spite of the fact that this method isn’t adequate for a modern level of the techniques development, especially from ecological viewpoint. The data analysis in the scientific literature within the recent decades shows that a classical pyrometallurgical method didn’t undergo any significant development from the technological viewpoint. Considerable advances are observed in the hydrometallurgy of the processing of polymetallic ores.

Pyrometallurgical technology of the copper sulphide processing is characterized by the following:

  • By multi-stepped process (7steps), by volume- and power- intensive processes;
  • Low coefficient of heat exploitation;
  • By three very complicated high-temperature successive technological processes (partial desulphurization in a boiled layer, smelting of pyrite cinder on a matte and a bessemerizing conversion of a matte) which are vulnerable to hermetic sealing;
  • By the high volume burned gases release, with a low content of sulphurous anhydride (7-13% SO2) implying nearly insuperable ecological obstacle.

As mentioned above, a radical improvement of existing pyrometallurgical method for polymetallic raw materials processing or its substitution is a highly topical problem.

Innovative Aspect and Main Advantages

New technology for processing of a copper sulphide raw material is proposed which, in contrast to the analogues, promoted into production, is characterized by compactness of technological scheme, simplicity of implementation of a process, by low consumption of the materials and power carriers.

Technological scheme provides:

  • Total cycle of the raw material processing in 5 steps;
  • Total desulphurization of sulphide raw material in a single technological step, in a single apparatus, subjected to hermetic sealing and mechanization;
  • Obtaining an oxides cinder (25-30% Cu) as a result of desulphurization, extraction of sulphur (~75%) in the form of sulphurous anhydride (~100% SO2) and 25 %-in the form of elementary sulphur from raw material;
  • Obtaining of the following products: a metallic copper by reductional remelting of oxides cinder and further refining, elementary sulphur by condensation from burned gas, a sulphuric acid by electrolytic oxidation of sulphur dioxide.

Proposed innovation possibility for realization of the process of total desulphurization in one-step, in a single apparatus in the condition of maximum hermetic sealing and mechanization will be favourable for the development of other pyrometallurgical processes. In particular, for the productions associated with a processing of sulphide ores and concentrates (Ni, Co, Zn, Pb, Sn, Mo, Hg, etc). Classical pyrometallurgical method of the ore processing is profitable only in a very large-scale conditions. Proposed project permits to be a profitable even at the assimilation in a small-scale. Thus it will be possible to include deposits of medium and low thickness into a world balance of the deposits of industrial importance. All the above-mentioned will be favourable not only for ecological improvement of non-ferrous metallurgy but for increase of its economic efficiency, as well.

Areas of Application

The offered process can be utilized for production non-ferrous metals, which ones are in the nature by the way of sulphide ores.

Fig. 1 Basic technical diagram.

Stage of Development

It has been tested in the laboratory.

Contact Details

R.Agladze Institute of Inorganic Chemistry and Electrochemistry
11 Mindeli str. 0186 Tbilisi, Georgia
Contact person: Tinatin Lezhava, Jondo Gvelesiani
Tel: (+995 32) 21 5952; 30 1430
Fax: (+995 32) 30 1430
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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