Process Requirements for the Direct Condensation of Both Zinc and Lead as Metals in the Polymetallic Smelting of Zn-Pb-Cu Sulphides
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1989
There is an inherent problem in producing simultaneously lead, zinc and copper as metals in a single polymetallic smelting furnace. It relates to the condensation of lead and zinc from the gas phase under vacuum conditions such that metals in bulk form, either solid or liquid, are obtained as products rather than a fume or dust containing both metallic and non-metallic components. To understand this phenomenon, it has been necessary to establish mathematical models with computer simulation to identify the process requirements for effecting the objective of maximum bulk metal production with minimum fog formation. The theoretical framework of simultaneous heat and mass transfer involved in condensation from gas mixtures containing a non-condensable gas has been extended to the high temperature and reduced pressure conditions. These apply to new technology for polymetallic smelting now being developed in a project currently funded jointly by the Commission of the European Communities and the Mineral Industry Research Organisation. Under the right conditions it is theoretically possible to condense out both lead and zinc with minimal fume formation, but in all practical cases it is anticipated that some circulating load for reversion back to the smelter will be needed.