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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Middle East & Asia: June 3rd 2004


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:: Aker Kvaerner Delivers Thai Copper Project

The world's newest copper smelter was handed over from the EPC contractor Aker Kvaerner to Thai Copper on May 6. Aker Kvaerner's specialized commissioning and plant services business unit, Aker Kvaerner Bowen, has been contracted for assistance in further commissioning and ramp-up efforts. The USD 580 million smelter and refinery complex is scheduled to reach full production by mid 2005.

The new smelter and refinery will produce 165,000 tonnes per year of 99.999 percent pure copper with the recognized industry standard LME Grade A. The production comprises 150,000 tonnes per year of copper from concentrates and 15,000 tonnes per year of copper from scrap.

Smelting furnace offgases are cleaned and treated for impurities prior to conversion to sulfuric acid in a double contact acid plant to make this plant a very modern, environmentally advanced facility. The majority of acid production will be utilized in the Thai fertilizer industry.

"We have in this project for Thai Copper built a modern effective facility that is also an environmentally responsible addition to Thailand's infrastructure," said Jim McGrath, President of Aker Kvaerner's global metals business unit.

Thai Copper is located in Rayong Province, approximately 170 kilometres south of Bangkok, Thailand. The project began in 1995, but was suspended from mid-1998 until the beginning of 2003 due to the Asian economic crisis.

The smelter utilizes one rotary primary smelting reactor (PSR) of 5-meters diameter and 22-meters length followed by three Syphon converters which operate on a batch basis. Residual copper is reclaimed from PSR slag by an electric furnace. Two rotary anode refining furnaces receive blister copper from the converters to reduce sulfur and oxygen. PSR and converter offgases are cooled, cleaned in electrostatic precipitators, and treated for impurities removal prior to conversion to sulfuric acid in a double contact acid plant complete with tail gas scrubber, to make this plant a very modern, environmentally advanced facility.

Copper from the refining furnaces is cast into anodes using a 24-mold casting wheel, and the anodes are then cooled and transported to the refinery. The design of the refinery tankhouse is based on modern automated technology to ensure the production of LME Grade A copper cathode. The cathodes are removed periodically from the tanks, separated from the stainless steel cathode blanks, and packaged for shipment to customers.




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