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Sterlite Industries Copper Smelter 

Sterlite Industries Copper Smelter

Smelter capacity increasing to 400 000tpa of copper cathode and 1.3million tpa of copper concentrate

The Sterlite Industries copper ISASMELT™ smelter is located at Tuticorin, on the southern tip of India, and smelts imported concentrates. Sterlite Industries first commissioned an ISASMELT™ plant in 1996 citing its ease of operation, options for expansion and low capital expenditure as key reasons for selecting this premium smelting technology.

The Sterlite smelter which was commissioned in 1996, originally had a design capacity of 60,000 tpa of copper in matte but was expanded to 150,000 tpa copper, with installation of additional tonnage oxygen. It was constructed on a greenfield site and included Peirce-Smith converters, anode furnaces and an acid plant.

Sterlite commissioned a new ISASMELT™ plant and new IsaProcess™ refinery at Tuticorin in 2005. The new ISASMELT™ furnace treats an increased throughput of 1,300,000 tpa of copper concentrate. The design capacity of 300,000 tpa has now been exceeded and Sterlite are gradually increasing capacity of the smelter to 400,000 tpa of anode copper through a program of debottlenecking.

Concentrates, petroleum coke and fluxes are fed directly to the ISASMELT™ furnace by belt conveyer. Fuel oil is injected through the lance for fine control of bath temperature. The oxygen content of the gases injected through the ISASMELT™ lance is up to 85%. The matte grade is 60% copper. Matte and slag are separated in one of two rotary holding furnaces and the slag granulated in a pit. Matte is transferred to the converters by ladle.

Offgases from the ISASMELT™ furnace pass into a waste heat boiler, prior to passing into an electrostatic precipitator for cleaning. The cleaned gases pass to a sulphuric acid plant for capture of sulphur.

The design of a third ISASMELT™ plant and new IsaProcess™ refinery is currently underway for installation at Tuticorin. The plant capacity will be 1,360,000 tpa of copper concentrate.

Licences from Australia, Belgium, China, Germany, Kazakhstan, Peru, USA and Zambia, as well as India, attended the 2006 ISASMELT™ Licensees' Workshop in Tuticorin