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Energy Consumption of Copper Smelter

7 years 5 months ago #1459 by Archived Forum Admin
What is the average energy consumption of Copper Smelter Plant? and what will be Gas consumption per ton? How it can be controlled? Subsequently what will be the average operating cost of the Copper Smelter Plant?

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7 years 5 months ago #1460 by Archived Forum Admin
Hello There Milind,

Wow what a global series of questions!

Just so we are all on the same page, the copper extraction processes are:
a) Mining the copper bearing ore.
b) Hydro-metallurgical extraction or pyro-metallurgical extraction
c) Concentration
d) Smelting, the process that you seem interested in. This is also generally the point where scrap copper from all over is introduced.
d) Conversion to blister
e) Reduction
f) Electro-refining
g) Then for the wire and cable industry, conversion to copper rod.
See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper_mining

Steps a) through f) are done by copper mining companies or their subsidiaries so it is only Item g) that is usually done in by wire and cable companies.

You are therefore asking the wrong forum and the wrong technical people for advice.

I suggest instead that you direct your questions to The Copper Development Association in New York City. www.copper.org/

Copper Development Association
260 Madison Avenue, 16th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Telephone: (212) 251-7200, Fax: (212) 251-7234
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

They have experienced copper mining and metallurgical engineers on staff and I hope you will get proper advice from them. Remember however, they are going to want to know how many tons of copper you intend to smelt in a 24 hour period. I suggest you also ask how big a smelter has to be in order to be profitable in today's world. Likewise give them your company information and your technical background so they know how to answer you. You may also want to learn if there are qualified engineering consultants around that can do a proper engineering study for your company. This of course will not be free.

Let us know how you make out!

Kindest regards,
Peter J. Stewart-Hay
Stewart-Hay Associates

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7 years 5 months ago #1461 by Archived Forum Admin

the following link tells about energy consumption in the production of cathode at a Kennacott facility.


it tells capacity in copper tons, electrical energy consumption, natural gas consumption and oxygen consumptions. Assuming soemone know what these things cost where they are located, they can calculate the consumption per ton or per 200 pound cathode at Kennecott and then either multiply by their cost for electricty, gas, and oxygen and get an idea of cost. Of course that would be assuming that they have similar equipment asa Kennecott.


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7 years 5 months ago #1462 by Archived Forum Admin
Thanks again Spectre07,

You're getting really good at digging out information on the Internet. I borrowed some of the information from the Kennecott web site as follows:

"Plant Description

The Bingham Canyon Mine is one of the world's largest open pit copper mines. Processing facilities include a concentrator, a 175-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant, a copper smelter, and a copper refinery. The operation produces 300,000 tons of refined copper per year plus significant quantities of gold, silver, and molybdenum. The mine employs approximately 1,600 people.

The Kennecott smelter and refinery are modern, energy-intensive metal production facilities constructed in the mid-1990s. The design includes state-of-the-art energy recovery and efficiency. The smelting process is based on multiple oxygen-fired furnaces operating at high temperature. A unique aspect of the smelting process is that most of the energy for smelting the copper is provided by the oxidation of iron and sulfur in the feed materials. In spite of this energy efficiency, the smelter still requires large quantities of fossil fuel and electric power.

Kennecott has installed the most advanced emission control systems available, and the smelter is the cleanest in the world. The copper refinery is a modern electrolytic refinery where pure copper is electroplated onto stainless steel sheets to produce 200-pound pure-copper sheets known as cathodes.

These processes use oxygen, natural gas, and a mix of self-generated and purchased electricity as the primary sources of energy.

Each year, the smelter and refinery plants use approximately 2.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas, 200 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electric power and 450,000 tons of oxygen. The smelter recovers energy from both the smelting furnaces and the sulfuric acid plant by cooling process gases and hot sulfuric acid to produce steam used to generate about 60% of the total smelter electrical energy requirement."

I think this covers all processes from "a)" through "f)" and thus the miners and mining costs are included but it sure gives a lot of insight.

Best personal regards,
Peter J. Stewart-Hay
Stewart-Hay Associates

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