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MEI Online: Pyrometallurgy: Latest News: March 3rd 2004


:: ISASMELT Advances Further on the World Stage

Xstrata Technology (XT) has successfully bid for two major copper smelter expansions, in Peru and Zambia, confirming ISASMELT as the technology of choice for copper smelting. ISASMELT is marketed by Xstrata Technology, based in Brisbane and Townsville.

Mopani Copper Mines plc have recently signed a letter of intent with Xstrata Technology to install ISASMELT at their Mufilira copper smelter in Zambia. It will be designed initially for 650,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of concentrate, with allowance for future expansion.

This follows the recently announced 1,200,000 tpa concentrate project at Southern Peru Copper Corporation (SPCC), which also utilises ISASMELT. SPCC also recently confirmed that the smelter modernisation project will proceed with Xstrata Technology providing the core smelting technology. The ISASMELT technology will help ensure that the plant satisfies new environmental regulations due to come into force in January 2007. Engineering for this job is now underway in both Brisbane and Santiago.

Philip Arthur, Pyrometallurgy Business Manager for Xstrata Technology, said “We are delighted to be working with both Mopani and SPCC on these two projects. The selection of ISASMELT over competing technologies vindicates our approach to developing and marketing the technology. This approach combines technical excellence with extensive operating expertise, meaning we offer a complete technology package. As a result, our installations have an enviable record for fast start ups, long refractory life, and reliable operation, and quickly meet then exceed design throughput."

The Xstrata package includes access to a large operating furnace at Mt Isa for training, staff with 15 years experience in ISASMELT operations and applications, access to developments in ISASMELT installations in 8 countries, experienced assistance for commissioning and production support, and ongoing improvements through technical exchange between ISASMELT plant operators around the world.

SPCC selected ISASMELT after a thorough review of 6 possible technologies from around the world. ISASMELT’s main attractions were its low capital and operating cost, the ease of retrofitting it into existing plants, the flexibility and simplicity of operation, and Xstrata’s record of successful large scale installations.

Mr Arthur said this was a great example of an Australian technology being successfully marketed globally by excellence and relentless attention to the detailed needs of clients. Export income is earned through licence fees, process design and engineering done in Brisbane, training delivery at Mt Isa, commissioning support from Mt Isa and Brisbane, core equipment manufacture and supply from Australia, and associated instrumentation and control packages being awarded to Australian companies.

The Mopani plant will be the thirteenth commercial scale ISASMELT installed, with others in Australia, Belgium, India, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Germany, China, United States and Peru. With these new projects worldwide ISASMELT capacity will reach more than 4.5 million tonnes per year of copper feed materials. Xstrata believes that the award of these two new projects against such intense competition has now established ISASMELT as the benchmark technology package for large scale copper smelting.



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