REWAS 2013 pp 217-230 | Cite as

Rock Smelting of Copper Ores with Waste Heat Recovery

  • Terry Norgate
  • Sharif Jahanshahi
  • Nawshad Haque


It is generally recognised that the grades of metallic ores are falling globally. This trend can be expected to increase the life cycle-based energy requirement for primary metal production due to the additional amount of material that must be handled and treated in the mining and mineral processing stages of the metal production life cycle. Rock (or whole ore) smelting has been suggested as a possible alternative processing route for low grade ores with a potentially lower energy intensity and environmental impact than traditional processing routes. In this processing route, the beneficiation stage is eliminated along with its associated energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, but this is partially offset by the need for more solid material to be handled and heated up to smelting temperatures. A life cycle assessment study was carried out to assess the potential energy and greenhouse gas benefits of a conceptual flowsheet of the rock smelting process, using copper ore as an example. Recovery and utilisation of waste heat in the slag (via dry slag granulation) and offgas streams from the smelting step was also included in the study, with the waste heat being utilised either for thermal applications or electricity generation.


Smelting Embodied energy Greenhouse gases Ore grade Waste heat 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Norgate, T and Jahanshahi, S. Low grade ores – smelt, leach or concentrate? Minerals Engineering, 23, 2010, 65–73.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Xie, D, Jahanshahi, S and Norgate, T. Dry granulation to provide a sustainable option for slag treatment. Sustainable Mining Conference, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, August 2010, 22–28.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Norgate, T, Xie, D and Jahanshahi, S. Technical and economic evaluation of slag dry granulation. Proceedings of AISTech Conference, May 2012a, Atlanta, USA, 35–46.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Norgate, T, Xie, D and Jahanshahi, S. Economic and environmental evaluation of slag dry granulation. Proceedings of 4th International Conference on Process Development in Iron and Steelmaking (SCANMET IV), June 2012b, Lulea, Sweden, 507–516.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jahanshahi, S, Zhang, L, Sun, S, Langberg, D, Xie, D, and Chen, C, 2004. Modelling physico-chemical properties of melts and kinetics of coal-slag reactions, in Proceedings 7th International Conference on Molten Slags, Fluxes and Salts, 493–502.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Somerville, M, Frazer, E, Vecchio-Sadus, A, Bruckard, W, Jeffery, P, Thurlby, J, Norgate, T, Trang, S, Smith, L and Jahanshahi, S. Copper recovery from direct copper converting slag, CSIRO Minerals Report, DMR-598, June 1997.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Vatanaku, M et al. Waste heat utilisation to increase energy efficiency in the metals industry. Energy Technology 2011, The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, 5–16.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© TMS (The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terry Norgate
    • 1
  • Sharif Jahanshahi
    • 1
  • Nawshad Haque
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Minerals Down Under National Research FlagshipClayton SouthAustralia

Personalised recommendations