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Nchanga smelter in Zambia set for an upgrade

The Nchanga smelter in Zambia is set to be upgraded. Konkola Copper Mines Plc (KCM) confirmed the plans and said the smelter will be shut down in from July to pave way for the works.

The Nchanga smelter was commissioned in 2008, incorporating technology from Outotec, Finland. The smelter processes ore from Konkola, Nchanga and other third party concentrates and it has a capacity of 311,000t pa. The smelter has met global benchmark environmental performance as it captures 99.6% of sulphur emissions. The upgrade works budgeted for US $27.63M, involves a control system upgrade for the smelter. Works will take place for 45 days from July.

Nchanga smelter

“The shutdown works will benefit the smelter operations as it will enhance operational efficiency and production, which will then translate into increased revenue for KCM and its subsidiary, the KCM SmelterCo Limited. KCM’s priority is to ensure the asset is in good shape in order to sustain jobs while the government seeks a permanent solution for KCM,” said KCM.

The company also produces several by-products, including sulphuric acid produced from the smelting process, which is largely consumed in the leaching process. The new Nchanga smelter also has the capability to recover cobalt from copper concentrates. The cobalt which comes in the form of a copper-cobalt alloy is sold to markets mainly in Asia. A final by-product of the refinery process is slime which is also exported.

 

 

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