Partial Softening of Lead Bullion with Oxygen
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1989
At the Cominco Ltd plant in Trail, British Columbia, the Betts lead electrorefining operation requires that antimony and arsenic be present in the lead bullion for anode slimes stability control. Until 1986 the antimony and arsenic inputs from concentrates to the Lead Smelter needed to be supplemented with high antimony and arsenic content recycles from the Silver Refinery operation to maintain a satisfactory composition. Subsequently the antimony and arsenic inputs have increased as a result of increasing levels of antimony in Sullivan lead concentrate and the purchase of larger quantities of silver/gold bearing concentrates that inherently have higher antimony and arsenic levels. The increase has exceeded the limits required by the Betts process. It therefore became necessary to install a partial softening process downstream of the Continuous Drossing Furnace to satisfactorily control the bullion composition. Process control and oxygen injection techniques used in the partial softening process are reviewed. Approximately 8 tonnes/day of softening slag are produced having a combined antimony and arsenic content of 25 percent. This slag is reduced in a recently commissioned short rotary furnace followed by vacuum distillation of the metal for recovery of the antimony and arsenic values.