Improved Copper Flash Smelting at Olympic Dam

Author(s) M. White, R. Haywood, W. Taylor, S. Chen, J. Ranasinghe, R. West
AusImm MetPlant Conference September 7-8, 2015


In March 2012 a combined BHP Billiton and Hatch team embarked on a program to improve the concentrate burner efficiency of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam copper flash smelting furnace. A multi-faceted approach including an analysis of the furnace using operational knowledge and first principles engineering led to the design and supply of a new central-lance (disperser). A new, patented, swirl method of introducing the copper concentrate into the furnace was developed to integrate with the existing concentrate burner. Plant trials in 2014 demonstrated an increase of nearly 10 percent in the oxygen efficiency of the furnace. The improved efficiency is expected to provide savings in operating costs and asset life extension of downstream gas and dust handling equipment.