The smelting process of Khatoon Abad Plant includes concentrate storage unit, blending unit, dryer unit, dust collection system, Flash Furnace, Electric Furnace, Converting Furnace, Refining Furnace and Casting Wheel.
In the Khatun-Abad copper smelting development project, the flash furnace unit has changed almost 100% and the equipment has been fully updated.
Other areas, such as Converter and Refining furnaces, did not change much and changed by only 5% to increase capacity.
Older dryers with natural gas fuel were used for concentrate, but the development project uses Steam dryers, which were purchased from Finland. Newer dryers can greatly reduce moisture. they are more efficient than older dryers, and by using them fuel consumption is completely eliminated. In fact, the use of steam provides a reusable system, and the steam produced by the boiler is used to dry the concentrate. In the flash melting method, the moisture content of copper concentrate should be less than 0.3%.
With the implementation of this development plan, increase of country’s copper production capacity will be accompanied by greening of copper industry and movement towards sustainable development. Khatoon Abad Copper Smelting Plant’s development plan will increase capacity of copper anode production capacity by applying changes in technology and modernization of equipment and processes, as well as reducing the emission of environmental pollution caused by production process and thus protecting environment. Due to the sanctions, the technology provider (Outotech-Finland) refused to provide services, this led to self-sufficiency and the project was implemented thanks to local experts.
The factory shutdown period is an essential part of the development project. The operation includes stopping production of the existing plant, modifying technology, modernizing, increasing the capacity of smelting flash furnace (eliminating sulfur dioxide gas pollutants) and replacing the electro filters.
Despite pressure on the project, restrictions on the presence of technology provider and foreign supervisors, and the focus on large volumes of executive activities in the limited space of the Flash furnace, a detailed time schedule plan for five-month shutdown was provided by expert team.
After analyzing 30 paths, by a new method of critical paths analysis (multiple floating paths through free-floating of activities relations), the plan was monitored daily and performed with minimal delay, which is a record in terms of sanctions and absence of foreign observers.
The lessons learned in this project can be valuable in other industries for Brown Field projects.