“Karabashmed” is one of the oldest copper smelting plants of the South Ural located in the city of Karabash. The main activity of the plant is making blister copper from copper concentrate with a preliminary enrichment of copper-zinc ores and also from recycled copper raw material.
Another company we gonna visit is “Kyshtymskiy Electrolytic Copper Plant” which is in the city of Kyshtym of the Chelyabinsk region. It makes copper cathodes, copper rods and precious metals from blister copper and copper-containing secondary raw materials.
“Karabashmed”, JSC. is a city forming company of Karabash.
Today it’s the only metallurgic company in Russia wotking with an advanced technology “Ausmelt”. In November 2006 one “Ausmelt” copper-smelting furnace replaced six one hundred years old shaft furnaces.
Here old shaft furnaces used to be placed.
Copper concentrate loading.
The main building of the processing plant and inside is a ball mill with a central loading of copper-zinc ores.
The new furnace allowed to increase the plant performance up to 90 thousand tons of blister copper a year while fume gas volume decreased sixfold.
The general view of the “Ausmelt” furnace.
The content of the melting furnace flows into the settler where it releases gas. The admixtures rise up as slag while the heavier copper blister sinks to the bottom.
Draining of the slag from the converter to the ladle.
The alloy temperature is 1150 C.
In the control room.
The slag comes out from the mixer furnace.
Pouring the slag into the bowl from the mixer furnace.
Discharge of the slag into the pit.
It’s quite a spectacle!
The equipment of the company had not been modernized at all in the Soviet times and by the end of the twentieth century the ecological situation became very serious in Karabash.
In June, 25th, 1996 Karabash and neighbouring territories were characterized as the zone of ecological disaster.
Since the beginning of the XXI century the company’s production has been slowly modernized and more eco-friendly technologies have been put into operation.
In 2009 Karabash was excluded from the list of the cities with the highest level of air pollution.
“Kyshtymskiy Electrolytic Copper Plant” makes copper and precious metals (as a byproduct of copper refining).
The process is taking place in the copper smelting shop.
The shop is equipped with a tilting furnace “MAERZ” with capacity of 380 tons and a pouring complex M-24.
Taking samples from the smelting furnace “МAERZ” for determining the chemical composition and the level of metal readiness.
Anode filling machine “Outokumpu”.
They also have a reverberatory furnace An-1 with capacity of 140 tons and performance of 42 thousand anodes a year.
Loading of the reverberatory furnace.
The machine separating anodes for 102 mm.
Separation of copper electrolysis. They can achieve very high purity of copper cathode (average copper content in cathodes – 99.997%).
Loaded matrixes with cathode copper.
Then they wash residues from anodes.
This conveyor packages cathodes.
They produce precious metals from blister copper and copper-containing secondary raw materials. This is how gold initially looks like.
Granules of gold.
Granules of silver.
The process of gold melting in the crucible furnaces.
Almost ready gold bullions.
Copper rod making process.
It is made by continuous casting and rolling.
Metal is supplied to the casting wheel. Adjustment before entering the rolling mill.
Copper rod packaging.
The plant annually makes about 100 tons of copper rod, more than 100 thousand tons of copper cathodes, more than 100 tons of silver and 3,7 tons of gold.