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Technological Change and the Environmental Imperative

Challenges to the Copper Industry

Edited by Claes Brundenius

Technological Change and the Environmental Imperative considers the extent of the success of polluting industries in becoming cost-efficient whilst acquiring less polluting technologies, in the face of fierce competition. The authors also discuss what has been the impact of privatisation on this process and what lessons have been learnt. Against this backdrop, and drawing on case material from Chile, China, Peru and Russia, the book goes on to assess the latest technological breakthroughs, and their possible future impact on cost efficiency and the environment.
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Chapter 7: Flash technology facing the challenges of the third millennium

Pekka Hanniala and Ilkka V. Kojo


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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