Polish copper producer opens state-of-the-art furnace
The investment by one of the world’s largest copper and silver producers, KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. [KGH-WSE], in the Głogów Copper Smelter (HMG I), in western Poland, represents a milestone in the history of Polish metallurgy and puts KGHM at the forefront of copper producers. KGHM said the state-of-the-art copper smelter is world’s largest flash furnace and electrical furnace. This unique technology is currently used only in three places in the world – one of them is Głogów. The opening ceremony at the smelter was held January 20, 2017.
This completed the implementation of the multi-annual Programme for Modernisation of Pyrometallurgy. Construction of a concentrate roasting installation, which will be launched in the fourth quarter of 2017, is an additional part of the Programme. Its role is to remove organic carbon from the concentrate by roasting. In this way the company will reduce energy usage, produce concentrate mixture and increase the melting capacity of the concentrates in the flash furnace. Implementation of the Programme at HMG I is designed to increase the competitiveness of KGHM in the non-ferrous metals market. The Głogów smelter produces cathode copper (99.99% pure) as well as silver, gold and platinum group metal concentrates.
The main modifications and improvements under the Programme, at the Głogów Copper Smelter I, consist of the replacement of shaft furnace copper concentrate smelting technology with modern flash furnace technology and include the construction of infrastructure and facilities for the flash furnace complex.
The functionally integrated, cost-effective and environment-friendly KGHM smelter and related technology is expected to be in use for at least several decades of operation. The smelter will maintain its current capacity treating its own as well as treat imported concentrates.
- Approximately 80% of copper production according to the best available cost-effective technologies
- Elimination of environmental and financial risks
- Improved work safety
- 20,000 tonnes – total weight of the steel construction
- 13, 500 tonnes – weight of the steel construction of the main facility
- 384,000 m3 – size of the designed facility complex
- 2 900 km – number of cables in the whole investment
“Launching the flash furnace technology in the Głogów Copper Smelter I puts Polish metallurgy at the forefront of world’s copper producers and guarantees increased capacity to recover valuable accompanying metals, while decreasing the environmental impact as well as the costs of copper processing,” said Radosław Domagalski-Łabędzki, President of KGHM Polska Miedź.
Production at the Głogów Copper Smelter is based on one-stage smelting technology in a flash furnace, where – directly from dry concentrate – blister copper is produced. This technology consists of three phases: concentrate roasting, matt copper smelting and conversion, combined into one process. The innovative technological solutions were the collective achievement of polish specialists, in particular, from KGHM Polska Miedz, Bipromet S.A. and the Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals in Gliwice, who benefited from the theoretical and practical knowledge gained during multi-annual operations of the flash process at the Głogów Copper Smelter II.
“It should be mentioned that when thousands of people worked on the construction site, thousands of cubic metres of concrete were cast and thousands of tonnes of steel were used in the smelter, exceptionally high (record) copper production was achieved. The production shutdown lasted less than three months, which was shorter than planned,” said Andrzej Szydło, Executive Director of HMG.
While machinery from worldwide suppliers was used to build the furnace, the design solutions were prepared by Polish engineers.
Deposit opening program in Głogów Głęboki-Przemysłowy (GGP) mining area
In 2004, KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. obtained a license for the exploitation of copper ore deposits in the Głogów Głęboki–Przemysłowy (GGP) mining area. Deposit management is a multi-stage process. Completion of the investment is scheduled by the end of 2030 for the underground mine.
The work necessary to start mining in the GGP area has now been completed. Currently, sinking of the shaft GG-1 (downcast, inspiratory function) is underway. By year-end 2016, the shaft reached a depth almost 847 metres of the targeted 1,340 metres. Stage II work of the construction of the surface air conditioning station near shaft R-XI (as part of the central underground air-conditioning) is continuing.
Since 2006, a total of 123,662 metres of underground mine workings, and related technical infrastructure, have been completed, which equals to 76% of total excavation and preparation for workings in the KGHM mines. The main objective of the project is the opening of the GGP mining areas, including new mining zones within current mining areas, for development.