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|In April 1987, Mount Isa Mines Limited (MIM) commissioned an ISASMELT reactor to smelt 15t/h of copper concentrate at the Mount Isa Copper Smelter. This unit was based on the Sirosmelt lance technology and incorporated features proven in the Lead ISASMELT plant which has been operating in the MIM Lead Smelter since 1983. From April 1987 to June 1989, the copper smelting plant treated 167000 tonnes. Concentrate, coal and fluxes are fed continuously to the furnace. Oxygen enriched air is injected through a lance which is submerged in the slag bath. Matte and slag are tapped together through a single taphole into a reverberatory furnace, and from there are treated with normal reverberatory furnace production. Advantages of the process include its ability to eliminate most lead and arsenic in feed, its flexibility with respect to feed composition, sizing and moisture, and the plant's low capital cost. Acceptable refractory life has also been demonstrated. The commissioning of a 70 t/day oxygen plant has rerated the plant from 15t/h to 18t/h while allowing a reduction in fuel usage of one third. A trial using 150 t/day oxygen was carried out in May 1989, and showed that the furnace could treat 48 t/h chalcopyrite concentrate while maintaining a very low fuel requirement. The oxygen trial results have given considerable confidence for plant scale-up. Detailed project evaluation is currently underway for the replacement of the roaster and reverberatory furnaces at Mount Isa with a single 110 t/h ISASMELT reactor.|