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The first conference organised by Minerals Engineering International dealing with pyrometallurgy, was held in Cape Town, South Africa and was organised in association with the Western Cape Branch of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. The University of Queensland's Pyrometallurgical Research Centre, PYROSEARCH provided corporate sponsorship for this event.
The conference had an attendance of about 40 delegates, representing 11 different countries. The selection committee of the symposium had received over 40 papers out of which 21 were accepted for presentation. The number of papers presented was limited such that no parallel sessions had to be held. A short overview of the papers as presented in four technical sessions is given below.
The presentations in this session covered the field of slag reactions from the application of new experimental techniques to enable the determination of phase equilibria in complex ferro-alloy smelting systems as presented by Hayes et al. to the thermodynamic modelling of the FeO-TiO2-Ti2O3 system discussed by Fourie et al. Eric et al. presented the high temperature carbothermic reduction of Fe2O3-TiO2-MxOy mixtures. Banda et al. discussed the influence of slag modifiers on the selective recovery of cobalt and copper from waste smelter slags to convert old slag dumps of potentially hazardous waste into innocuous materials while at the same time extracting valuable metals to pay for this operation. An experimental study on the influence of slag basicity and the FexO content on slag foaming was presented by Stadler et al.
The papers of the environmental sessions dealt with a variety of subjects. Van Schaik et al. discussed the dynamic modelling and optimisation of the resource cycle of passenger vehicles in order to predict the amount of secondary metal available for pyrometallurgical processing over time and to emphasis the inseparable relation between (mechanical) recycling and pyrometallurgy. The critical importance of the quality control of recycling intermediate products created during physical separation, to ensure that the feed to metal producing processes permits the economic production of quality metal products was discussed by Reuter et al., based on the melting behaviour of distributed aluminium turning scraps. Abdel-latif presented two papers in this session. In the first presentation, the fundamental issues of the Enviroplas process developed at Mintek to recover zinc from metallurgical wastes were discussed. The results of a two-year research program on finding the most suitable way to recover vanadium and nickel from petroleum fly ash were presented by Abdel-latif as well.
Chryssoulis discussed the understanding of gold losses in roaster calcines in order to optimise the recovery of gold. Georgalli et al. gave a very interesting presentation on an integrated thermodynamic systems approach to the prediction of matte composition dynamics in an AusMelt converter. Kotze presented the aspects of ferronickel production from laterites and other oxidised nickel ores in a DC are furnace. Reuter et al. discussed the reaction kinetics and process simulation in submerged arc furnace for ferrochrome production, based on an extensive experimental study on chromite reduction with CO. Pistorius et al. presented a combined experimental modelling approach used for testing possible rate-determining steps during reduction of composite magnetite-coal pellets at 1300°C. Jalkanen et al. explained the simulation of the oxygen converter process using the simulator CONSIM.
In the session on furnaces, Neven discussed an experimental study for evaluation of the creation and behaviour of gas bubbles of submerged injection in an Isasmelt reactor. Jones et al. showed unique photographs of the DC arc, which were compared to models of the shape of the arc. The depression in the surface of the slag was also photographed and the results used in a model. Reynolds presented the modelling of thermal radiation of DC smelting freeboards. Eksteen discussed the challenges in the sampling and characterisation of raw materials and products of arc furnaces, whereas Frank et al. presented mass balance data reconciliation for a DC-plasma arc chromite smelting furnace to support empirical modelling.
Having attended the TMS meeting for many years it was a welcome change how close Pyrometallurgy '02 came to the ideal symposium written about by Plato in his book "Symposium". The relatively small-scale organisation of this conference, together with the absence of parallel sessions, created an excellent opportunity and atmosphere to discuss the presented papers extensively. The questions and discussion after the various presentations were detailed and interesting, often discussed for considerable time from a theoretical as well as from an industrial and practical perspective, due to the diverse background of the participants and the topics covered by the presentations. It must be noted that it was a delight to be part of the discussions, be it from the floor, as session chairman from the podium or as a presenter. Pyrometallurgy '02 was what a Symposium or Conference should be like!
Whereas many of the activities at the TMS meeting are published in conference proceedings, Pyrometallurgy '02 offers each selected and presented paper the opportunity for submission to the journal Minerals Engineering for publication after peer review. This approach makes it possible for each author to further modify the papers after the valuable discussions following the presentations (essentially the first peer review). The papers, if accepted, will be published in Volume 15 Number 11, a special 'Chemical and Biological Processing' issue of Minerals Engineering.
M.A. Reuter, A. van Schaik, J. Post and J. Voncken, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. Email: M.A.Reuter@CITG.TUDelft.NL
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