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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: March 31st 2004


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:: Zambia Mopani Mine Plans to Expand Copper Smelter

Swiss firm Xstrata will install new technology at Zambia's Mufulira smelter to radically hike capacity for copper concentrate to 650 000 t/y, a senior Xstrata official said yesterday.

Philip Arthur, Xstrata 's pyrometallurgy business manager, said the new technology known as Isasmelt, would be installed in early 2006 at the Mufulira smelter, an operation of Mopani Copper Mines (MCM). Mopani Copper Mines operates the Nkana and Mufulira copper and cobalt mines.

"Isasmelt is a top blown submerged lance furnace used for smelting copper concentrate to copper matte containing about 60% copper. It has relatively low capital and operating costs, is simple to operate and is very flexible," Arthur said.

Arthur said the Isasmelt would replace an existing electric furnace, and would be initially designed to produce 650 000 t copper concentrate a year with plans eventually to increase to 850 000 t/y. Mopani would engage other firms to work with Xstrata on the project, which he said could serve as a model for applying the technology in other Zambian copper operations.




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