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MEI Online: Pyrometallurgy: Latest News: July 5th 2005


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:: New Contract Win takes Ausmelt into China's Nickel Industry

Ausmelt Limited (AET) has won two major contracts worth a combined $14 million to provide its Top Submerged Lance smelting technology (TSL) to substantial metals projects in Asia.

Under the first contract, Ausmelt will provide its technology for a new nickel smelting and converting plant to be built by Jinchuan Group Limited (Jinchuan), Chinas largest nickel producer, in the Gansu Province of China.

This is the largest value contract that Ausmelt has won in China. It is also the company's largest scale smelting and converting plant and the first to process nickel concentrates to high grade matte. This will be Ausmelts largest project in terms of concentrate feed (over 1,000,000 tonnes a year) and the fourth time Ausmelt has worked with the China Non-Ferrous Engineering and Research Institute (ENFI) in China.

Ausmelt's Managing Director, Mr Paul Abbott, said Ausmelt has long recognised the significant benefits that our technology could bring to the nickel industry and we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Jinchuan, a recognised leader in the global nickel industry.

The project is financially very significant for Ausmelt and will enhance the Company's competitive position in large-scale non-ferrous smelting and converting.

The Ausmelt converting technology to be installed at Jinchuan uses a similar metallurgical process to the one that was successfully implemented by Anglo American Platinum Corporation and its Rustenburg plant operations in South Africa for production of platinum group metals. However the smelting process to be implemented at Jinchuan will be the first application of Ausmelt technology to nickel smelting at this commercial scale.

The contract covers provision of Ausmelt technology, engineering services and equipment supply. Ausmelt will work closely with Jinchuan and ENFI to complete the project which includes two new Ausmelt furnaces and two new electric furnaces. Engineering design for the project has begun and the new plant is scheduled to start up in the second half of 2007.

The new plant will process over 1,000,000 tonnes a year of nickel concentrates. Matte produced from the first new Ausmelt furnace will be further treated in a new electric settling furnace. The resultant granulated low grade matte will then be converted to a high-grade product in a second Ausmelt furnace and the slag produced will be cleaned in a new electric slag cleaning furnace. The high grade product will then be further refined in a separate refinery.

Ausmelt has previously provided its technology for three plants operating in China, two for copper and one for tin.




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