Głogów Copper Smelter and refinery

The Głogów smelter in Poland produces the highest quality cathode copper, as well as silver, gold and platinum concentrate.

General Information

The Głogów Copper Smelter comprises two separate process plants – Głogów I and Głogów II.

The technology used to process copper concentrates in flash furnaces results in the final product – electrolytically refined copper in the form of cathodes with a 99.99% Cu content, registered on the London Metal Exchange as grade A according to BS EN 1978:1998 and on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) under the brands HMG-S, HMG-B.

The following metals are produced in the Precious Metals Plant of the Głogów Copper Smelter: 99.99% pure silver in the form of pig sows and granulate, bars of gold with more than 99.95% Au content, as well as platinum-palladium concentrate and technical selenium.

Silver in the form of pig sows, registered under the brand name KGHM HG has been issued Good Delivery certificates by the London Bullion Market Association and a certificate of registration on the New York Mercantile Exchange NYMEX.

All products of the Głogów Copper Smelter are characterised by very stable and high quality guaranteed by their internationally renowned global market brands.

The Głogów smelter also has departments for the processing of metals and compounds accompanying copper ores:

  • two Sulphuric Acid production plants converting process gases from flash furnaces into sulphuric acid;
  • The Lead Plant converts lead-bearing raw materials into crude lead, which is finally processed in the Legnica Copper Smelter to the form of pig sows – commercial form;
  • within the Electrorefining Divisions of both copper production technological lines, there are recovery plants for nickel, which is then marketed in the form of nickel sulphate.

 Głogów Copper Smelter has certificates confirming that in the production of electrolytic copper in the form of cathodes, production of electrolytic silver in the form of ingots and granulate, production of gold, technical selenium, crude lead and sulphuric acid, as well as in the field of research related to the implemented processes and measurements of emissions and all other environmental conditions, in the field of metallurgy and refining of copper concentrates, it operates on the basis of an Integrated Management System, including:

  • ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System
  • ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System
  • BS OHSAS 18001:2007 Occupational Health and Safety Management System
  • ISO 50001:2011 Energy Management System

History

The construction of the Głogów I Copper Smelter in Żukowice near Głogów, with traditional shaft furnace technology, started in 1968, and in July 1971 the plant was commissioned for operation with an annual production capacity of 160,000 tonnes of electrolytic copper.

In 1974 the construction of the second part of the smelter – Głogów II started (capacity 150,000 t/year). Modern one-stage flash furnace copper smelting technology was applied in this smelter – the first such use of this technology in the world. The plant was put into operation on 8 January 1978.

In the years 1990-1993, a Precious Metals Plant was built at the Głogów Copper Smelter to recover silver, gold and small amounts of platinum group metals as well as technical selenium from the anode sludge.

In the years 2000-2001, the Lead Plant, opened in 1973, was entirely modernised. It has a target annual production capacity of 30 thousand tonnes of crude lead.

At the Głogów I smelter, preparations for the replacement of shaft furnace technology with flash furnace technology have been underway since 2014. In October 2016, the world's largest flash furnace and electric furnace installation were commissioned, thus creating the most modern copper smelting production line.

Production

Production in both copper production lines of the Głogów Copper Smelter is based on a one-stage flash furnace copper smelting technology, in which blister copper is produced directly from dried concentrate.

The production process includes:

  • Preparation of the charge for melting – mixing, averaging and drying of the mixture of copper concentrates;
  • Smelting of the concentrate in a flash furnace to result in blister copper – 99% Cu;
  • Copper removal from slag in electric furnaces and converter furnaces in order to obtain waste containing as little metal as possible;
  • Processing of blister copper to remove impurities in rotary and stationary furnaces and casting in the form of anodes;
  • Electrorefining in which anode copper dissolves in the electrolyte and deposits on a cathode that contains 99.99% Cu.

Copper cathode is the final product, which is marketed or processed into other products at the Cedynia Rolling Mill. The sludge remaining after electrorefining is the starting material for the production of silver and small amounts of gold, platinum metals and technical selenium.

Enviroment

The Głogów Copper Smelter meets Polish and European Union environmental protection standards as verified by decisions and approvals. It is one of the cleanest copper smelting and refining facilities in the world, a model for other such industrial complexes around the world. In the last 17 years, the outlays on pro-ecological investments amounted to over PLN 3.5 billion, including the Pyrometallurgical Modernisation Programme and readjustment projects. On the territory of the former protection zone around the facilities, around 934 hectares of forests were planted, while 605 hectares were converted into an ecological area “Łęgi Głogowskie” (Głogów Wetlands) – a new habitat for various rare species of plants and animals.