Challenges to the Copper Industry
Edited by Claes Brundenius
Chapter 7: Flash technology facing the challenges of the third millennium
Pekka Hanniala and Ilkka V. Kojo 1. INTRODUCTION Outokumpu invented ﬂash smelting technology because after the war there was a need to decrease drastically the consumption of electric energy, with a considerable shortage of energy in Finland. The new process, ﬂash smelting, has been described as the most important innovation in copper metallurgy in the twentieth century. Interest in this technology was tremendous from the ﬁrst among the copper producers, as two main requirements were fulﬁlled: smelting was carried out based on the energy contained in the concentrate, and SO2 in the produced gases was economically recovered in the form of sulphuric acid. The process developed at Harjavalta in 1949 was ﬁrst utilized outside Outokumpu by Furukawa in the beginning of the 1950s, and little by little the process has gained a leading position among the copper producers as a technology using less energy which is environmentally friendly. This chapter describes the challenges of today and gives some background for Outokumpu’s view on how the smelter business will develop in the near future and how ﬂash smelting technology is playing an important role in this development. 2. CHALLENGES IN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION The copper business of today is inﬂuenced directly by the ever-increasing general concern about the environment and the subsequent more and more severe environmental regulations everywhere in the world. Trade alliances between countries and common international progress will increase the pressure on legislative regulations and decrease the time during which these regulations will come into eﬀect....
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