By Staff Writer
Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) says it has secured finances to conduct the annual shutdown of the Nchanga smelter.
The smelter periodically requires an upgrade of it infrastructure to improve efficiency and production and prolong the life of the key asset.
KCM Provisional Liquidator Celine Nair said KCM’s priority was to ensure the integrity of the asset was enhanced in order to sustain jobs while the government was seeking to find a permanent solution for KCM.
Ms Nair said the shutdown works will benefit the smelter operations as it will enhance operational efficiency and production.
She said this will translate into increased revenue for KCM and its subsidiary, the KCM SmelterCo Limited.
Ms Nair said the bi-annual smelter shutdown is scheduled to take place between July and August 2023 for a period of 45 days.
She said KCM will spend $27.63m on the shutdown, which will comprise the control system upgrade, renewal of refractory lining in the furnaces and refurbishment of the cast wheel for copper anodes.
“Other works will include the replacement of evaporator bundles on the waste heat boiler, replacement of units on the gas stream and the refurbishment of the 1,850 tonnes per day acid plant,” she said.
Ms Nair said some additional benefits will be a reduction in maintenance cost as the plant and equipment would have been refurbished to equally prolong the life of this key asset.
After the rehabilitation, the Primary Furnace (Flash Smelting Furnace) will be able to operate at higher feed rates of at least 85 tonnes per hour. The Smelter has a nameplate capacity of 311,000 tonnes per year at a feed rate of 112 tonnes per hour and is one of the three best smelters in terms of sulphur capture in the world.
This is contained in a statement issued by KCM General Manager Corporate affairs. Shapi Shachinda.