The key to ISASMELT™'s success has been its simplicity and its efficiency. Our customers have recognised the advantage of a technology that improves their smelting operations resulting in better environmental management, reduced operating costs, increased production capacity and stronger profits.
Learn about our advantages
High Production Capacity
The high intensity smelting process results in high productivity from a relatively small diameter furnace. Using a single ISASMELT™ furnace of 4.4 metres in diameter, Kansanshi Mining PLC treats over 1.38 Mtpa of copper concentrate.
Demonstrated Rapid Ramp-Up to Design Capacity
Glencore Technology’s complete package of detailed design, equipment supply, training, and commissioning, ensures that ISASMELT™ start up is smooth, and that quick ramp-up to design capacity is achieved. Glencore Technology’s operating expertise has assisted Kansanshi Mining PLC to reach design capacity in just three months.
High Volatilisation of Impurities
The turbulent bath in the ISASMELT™ process ensures efficient removal of volatile elements into the offgas stream. The majority of arsenic, for example, is removed from the molten bath into the offgas stream and can be bled out of the smelting process through the offgas cleaning system.
Environmentally Friendly Technology
ISASMELT™ technology can meet the most stringent environmental guidelines and has demonstrated virtually zero fugitive emissions, with extremely efficient offgas capture. For example, the carry-over of dust from an ISASMELT™ furnace into pollution control equipment is much lower than alternative technologies. Dust from mechanical carry-over is approximately 1% of feed weight. This results in much lower recycle of dust and lower operating and capital costs for dust capture and recirculation systems.
High Specific Smelting Rate
The ISASMELT™ lance is submerged in the slag, providing an extremely turbulent molten bath.
When the raw materials enter the bath they are immediately drawn beneath the surface and react very quickly. This enables a comparatively large amount of raw material to be processed.
Innovative Low Cost Furnace
The stationary vertical cylinder shape of the furnace allows it to be bricked easily. The furnace construction requires less maintenance than other processes, which rely on rotating furnaces, water-cooled panels and complex systems for injecting gases and solids through the walls or roof of the furnace. The lance can be removed from the furnace easily at any time if maintenance is required, with smelting continuing using a new/refurbished lance inserted from the waiting rack. Typical lance maintenance involves the replacement of the tip section of the lance.
Low Cost Operation
The ISASMELT™ process achieves a low total operating cost through a combination of minimal maintenance, high-energy efficiency, and low personnel requirements. Smelters utilising the ISASMELT™ process are amongst the lowest-cost smelting facilities in the world.
The ISASMELT™ process is extremely flexible. Furnaces can be custom designed to meet the needs of the client while minimising capital cost. Lance oxygen enrichment ranges from 21% to 90%. The process has been used for primary and secondary (scrap) copper smelting, copper converting, primary and secondary lead smelting, and nickel smelting.
The ISASMELT™ TSL process can be adapted from the smallest to the largest plant throughputs. Glencore Technology can customise the design to meet the client’s varying needs in feed materials and production capacity.
Minimal Feed Preparation
Raw materials only need to be mixed in a drum or paddle mixer. Fine grinding and drying are unnecessary. In secondary smelting, large lumps of raw materials can be fed directly into the bath. For example, in one smelter, scrap copper up to 300 mm in length is incorporated in the continuous feed mix.
Ease of Operation
A modern distributed control system is used for overall plant control. Sophisticated algorithms have been developed over the years in Glencore’s own operations to simplify control of critical process parameters. Compared to other processes, operators can learn the process quickly.
Easy Stop and Start-Up Procedures
The ease of stopping and re-starting the ISASMELT™ furnace is a significant operating advantage. Typically, the furnace can be stopped within 20 seconds and re-started within five minutes. Cold re-starts, due to extended shutdowns (greater than two days), are also straightforward with return to smelting typically taking less than four hours.
Flexibility in Fuel Types
The ISASMELT™ process can use most types of coals, petroleum coke, coke breeze, oil (including recycled oil), propane or natural gas for fuel. An ISASMELT™ furnace can be designed to use the cheapest available fuel and can be adapted in the future to other types should fuel costs change.