Spains Atlantic Copper SLU this year will treat only
860,000 tonnes of copper concentrates at its Huelva smelter in
the southwestern part of the country due to a major
refurbishment of the hearth in its flash furnace.
The smelter will shut for 50
days starting Sept. 5 as the complete refractory lining of the
furnace, installed in 1975, is replaced for the first time.
The associated electrolytic
refinery will close for 40 days, losing some 800 to 900 tonnes
per day of production, although the company intends to build up
some anode stock to offset the effects of the shutdown.
Atlantic Copper has the capacity
to produce 284,000 tonnes per year of cathode, of which 55
percent is sold into the Spanish market and the rest is
exported to other Mediterranean countries.
About 60 percent of the
companys feed comes from mines owned by Phoenix-based
parent company Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. and the
rest comes from third parties, according to senior vice
president of metallurgy Miguel Palacios.
Blending is an important part of
the smelter flowchart, given the varied supply source. The
plant also consumes some 10,000 to 20,000 tonnes per year of
commercial scrap, depending on market rates and
The Madrid-based company
achieved a record throughput of 1.03 million dry metric tons of
smelted concentrates in 2012, yielding production of 274,000
tonnes of cathodes, 1 million tonnes of sulfuric acid
production of acid sales of 1.01 million tonnes.