An Overview Of The Namakwa Sands Ilmenite Smelting Operations

Gous, M.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2006
Namakwa Sands is a heavy minerals mining and beneficiation business in the Anglo Base Metals Division, and operates along the West Coast of South Africa. The business encompasses mining, mineral concentration, separation, and smelting operations. The smelting process comprises the carbonaceous reduction of ilmenite to produce titania slag with a TiO2 content of 86%, and iron with a carbon content of 2.5%. The Namakwa Sands smelter, situated near the Saldanha Bay harbour, commenced smelting operations in 1994, when a 25 MW DC-arc furnace was commissioned. The smelting operations were expanded in 1999, with the commissioning of a second 35 MW DC-arc furnace. Despite the fact that ilmenite smelting poses a technical challenge in terms of the high temperatures required, the physical characteristics of the slag, the constraints placed on the feedstock, and the tight product specifications, Namakwa Sands has continually increased slag production since 1995. High furnace feed-on utilization and furnace stability, complemented by continuous improvement drives, will be thevehicle to drive performance in the short-term, with longer-term performance enhancements due to strategic process development. Keywords: Pyrometallurgy, Namakwa Sands, ilmenite, DC-arc furnace, titania slag, pig iron
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