First phase of zinc dust recycling program is achieving zinc recovery and iron metallization at or near target levels.
ZincOx Resources reports that the first phase of its zinc dust recycling plant in Korea is currently operating with zinc recovery and iron metallization at or very close to target levels. The company adds that production, with the exception of the hot briquetting section, has been steadily improving as the company tweaks start-up issues.
The Korean facility has been designed to treat 200,000 metric tons of electric arc furnace dust (EAFD) per year. The EAFD is now being delivered under exclusive supply agreements with all eight of the steel companies contracted for the first phase of the plant’s development. The second phase of development is expected to double capacity and is planned for completion in 2013.
The process used at the mill involves the separation of zinc into a high quality zinc concentrate (76,000 metric tons per year) and the reduction of residual iron into an intermediate product (80,000 metric tons per year) that can be used as a scrap substitute.
In a release, ZincOx says that zinc recovery rates have been steadily improving, ranging between 92-99 percent, with a target of 97 percent. The zinc concentrate, which has a zinc grade of more than 63 percent, is being sold to Korea Zinc as part of a 10-year off-take agreement.
The metallic content of the iron product forms the basis of its valuation. The proportion of iron that is reduced to its metallic form is known as the metallization rate which is now around 80 percent.
In its update, ZincOx reports that the Korean facility was suspended for two weeks in July while a number of equipment modifications were made to improve the plant’s reliability and enable process optimization to achieve targeted process objectives. Since completing the modification, process objectives have been demonstrated and the ramp-up has resumed with improved availability and sustained hourly throughput. Some minor equipment reliability and throughput issues remain outstanding but solutions have been identified and remediation work is either underway or pending the delivery of upgraded equipment.
The company says that overall plant throughput is expected to reach 85 percent by the end of September and 90 percent by the end of October.
Commenting on the announcement, Andrew Woollett, ZincOx’s chairman, says, “The success of the process has now been clearly demonstrated and while full production is taking slightly longer to achieve than expected, solutions for the outstanding issues have been identified and we are looking forward to positive cash flow in the near future.”