The Eti Bakır Mazıdağı site is located in Mazıdağı, Turkey, and belongs to Cengiz Holding. The Cengiz group has been investing in infrastructure projects dating back to the late 1970’s. Their investments in the energy and mining industries, along with other corporate activities in the area, have enabled Cengiz Holding to grow into a family of 35 companies and affiliates, with an annual revenue exceeding 5 billion USD. Due to their involvement in various construction projects, they are the only Cobalt producer in Turkey, and globally, one of the largest Cobalt producers.
The site became aware that there were economically viable precious and base metals remaining inside the calcine of the roasting in Mazıdağı, but were struggling to recover them. This is when Metso Outotec stepped in to support the customer, from concept planning to realization. The collaboration between the local personnel, the business line and the product line colleagues allowed Metso Outotec to offer the optimal solution for the customer’s needs. Due to this innovation, the site was able to recover the promised amount of metals. Eventually, the process became an orchestra of plants seamlessly working together to concur their shared goal.
- Recovery of precious metals & minerals from pyrite concentrate
- Optimum technology selection for effective Leaching & extraction
- Beneficiation process selection for limited & complex phosphate deposit in the project site
An Established History Together
The customer relationship that Metso Outotec has with Cengiz Holding is not a new one – the companies have been consistently working together for over 50 years. Historically, Metso Outotec has had an installed base in the Eti Bakir concentrator and smelter sites since 1970.
The latest investments of Cengiz Holding is almost a showcase of Metso Outotec technologies. In every major site that belongs to them, there is a complete delivery of a greenfield concentrator or a metals refining site.
With regards to the Eti Bakır Mazıdağı site, Metso Outotec has delivered multiple items already, such as a phosphate beneficiation plant, roasting plant, off gas cleaning , sulfuric acid plant, and also a Leaching, SX and EW plant for the recovery of Co, Zn, Cu. Considering the complete size of the complex, Metso Outotec deliveries comprise of roughly 60% of the whole operation and is thus the heart of the main process sites.
It was this pre-established trust built between the two that presented Metso Outotec with the task to recover the precious metals. Osman Akay - Solution Sales Director for Metals BA, highlights the importance of our successful history working together that led to this opportunity.
“Our metal solution technologies, references and successful track record come from the previous installations at their other sites,” says Osman. “The unique solution was our ability to combine different technologies to work in harmony for such a complex site.”
- Roasting plant for pyrite concentrates
- Gas cleaning & sulfuric acid plants
- Calcine leaching & solvent extraction plants
- AG Mill, Thickeners, Filters & Courier online analyzers for Phosphate Beneficiation Plant
Rising Up to the Occasion
The same feed that they process in Mazidagi was utilised by another company in Turkey, which led to the site becoming aware of the remaining precious metals. Unfortunately for the other company, it proved to be too much of a challenge to recover. However, with a first-of-its-kind innovation, Metso Outotec believed in creating the right solution for them.
The customer wanted to recover metals like Co, Zn, Cu from pyrite, whilst also wanting to produce fertilizer by utilizing the phosphate resources. The first challenge they faced was that there was a phosphate reserve in an abandoned area, where human resources is challenging no matter what operational plans there are. On the other hand, there is the pyrite resource that is far away from phosphate and also carries other valuable metals. The main questions Metso Outotec supported the customer with was: How can we bring these together, what can we recover from this combination, and what technologies are applicable?
The idea was that by roasting the sulfur, it can be converted into sulfuric acid, which then goes into the direction of fertilizer production. We realized there are other valuable metallic elements which can be leached, and by utilising certain technologies, the site would be able to recover base metals such as cobalt, zinc and copper as well as precious metals.
Taygun Bayram, Site Manager for Eti Bakır Mazıdağı, notes that another challenge they had to overcome was the overall lack of experience with these new technologies they were inventing.
“This technology was not well known in Turkey, or even globally,” says Bayram. “Because it is quite new, and their plant was a Greenfield plant, there was a lack of experience there as to if this could really work. This was the main challenge was them and for us as well, but their leap of faith in Metso Outotec gave us even more motivation to complete the task.”
For this project, Metso Outotec provided integrated digital tools such as a Roasting Plant Optimizer, which is configured independently from the plant’s distributed control system (DCS). During the early days of the site, it proved to be a very effective tool to help get the plant into operation and on requested levels. This system, along with Metso Outotec’s Plant Operability Reliability and Safety (PORS) philosophy, enable future employment of a full plant optimizer.
“In essence, a further step has been made towards digital readiness,” says Bayram. “DCS functionality remains untouched by the optimizer. Process variables, such as feed belt speeds, are exchanged between the instrumentation and DCS, but control, such as the shut-down procedure, remains in the DCS.”
- Recover of Metals such as Cobalt, Zinc, Copper, Gold & Silver
- Phosphate beneficiation in effective ratio & quality prior to Fertilizer production.
- Sulfuric acid production
- Phosphate beneficiation in effective ratio & quality prior to Fertilizer production.
Innovation is embedded in Metso Outotec DNA
The Eti Bakır Mazıdağı project began in 2013, as discussions on feasibility and potential project development were beginning to kick off. Test work was started at the Outotec R&D Centre in Frankfurt, Germany, on the pyrite fluid bed roasting process. In parallel, test work for metals recovery was also developing at the R&D centre in Espoo, Finland. After years of hard work with basic engineering and the scope of deliverables, the plant was fully commissioned by 2018, with the first products already having been recovered.
“This was not an overnight change,” states Taygun. “This was a big project including many sites at the same time. When you look at the degree of distribution we were doing, and the many years of hard work and collaboration involved, this was a huge project to undertake.”
The success of this project came down to the Metso Outotec solution of extensive testing. Through the testing, concept development and basic engineering studies, Metso Outotec was able to prove that we do have the technology needed to recover these materials. We also provided technology deliveries such as:
- Autogenous Milll, Thickeners, Filters, Courier 6i SL and Courier 8 SL online analysers for phosphate beneficiation plant
- Roasting plant for pyrite concentrates, off gas cleaning and complete sulfuric acid plant
- Leaching plant, SX, and EW process islands
Lead Process Engineer, Marcus Runkel, believes that their early piloting led to the success of the operation. “One of the key issues when starting a new project like this is how do you hook everything up and push the project all the way to the end,” says Marcus. “Without our initial test work to figure out our different solutions and process routes, we would not have this project today.”
Metso Outotec has the capability to supply complex solutions. After initial discussions on process options, the customer installed two roasters in parallel with one gas cleaning and one acid plant, with Metso Outotec also supplying the two boilers behind the roasters. Altogether, the total complex includes the hydrometallurgical plant engineered by Metso Outotec personnel in Finland. The plant has the following main products: Steam/electric power, acid which goes further into the fertilizer plant, and calcine which goes into the hydrometallurgical plant to recover Zn, Co, Cu.
“This was definitely a unique project, as there aren’t any other kinds in the world,” says Taygun. “Not only is it a complex fertilizer operation, but the valuable product is coming from the Pyrite deposit. Utilizing this mining residue has made this a truly special operation.”
The dedicated installation team comprised of local Metso Outotec personnel in addition to business line and product line colleagues. The team worked around the clock with installation and commissioning, as well as offering site services. During project execution, the team was also training the sites own operators and engineers on how to use the technologies.
“We were all working as one team,” states Taygun. “This was our main approach, and we are continuing to do that even now to help our clients execute good construction and commissioning.”
A Successful Recovery
This harmonious orchestra of equipment has created a multitude of additional benefits for the customer. In the end, Eti Bakır Mazıdağı received a seamlessly working plant with recoveries of 2000TPA of Cu cathodes of LME grade A, 2100TPA of Metallic Co in CoCO3 cake, as well as 860TPA of Metallic Zn in ZnCO3 cake. Along with these benefits, the site was able to produce extra steam production (120T/H of steam where the 20T is used in preheating and 100T utilized for extra energy of about 22MW), whilst having 20% consumption of reagents. Product quality was also increased, as our technology helped the customer produce LME grade A Cu cathode and a high purity of CoCO3.
These benefits provided by Metso Outotec’s innovation significantly impact the competitiveness of the customer whilst improving their overall profitability. Furthermore, the ongoing site service does not end there. Metso Outotec personnel visit the site two days per week to ensure all is running smoothly. By checking each of the processes and supporting the customer with any challenges, we can see if there are any solutions that can be delivered immediately.
Lead Process Engineer, Marcus Runkel, believes it was their early piloting that led to the success of the operation.
“One of the key issues when starting a new project like this is how do you hook everything up and push the project all the way to the end,” says Marcus. “Without our initial test work to figure out our different solutions and process routes, we would not have this project today.”
Creating Opportunities Moving Forward
Metso Outotec is built on partnerships. The positive outcome with the extraction technology has allowed for further collaboration with even more of the company’s sites.
“The customer is happy with our solutions and satisfied with the site production deliverables,” says Osman. “They explicitly convey their positive messages to us and also to our other potential customers globally, and our services are being extended in the form of spare parts and maintenance inspections as well.”
This success story has led to even more opportunities for the team, as they are already in communication for sales cases with other customers.
“A big benefit for us is that this has now become a reference site,” says Taygun. “Any customer, even globally, can contact us if they have similar plans about recovering metals, and we can always refer to the Mazıdağı plant and what we achieved there. We are the first option, every time for Cengiz group, and this is a good reason why.”
Here at Metso Outotec, we see challenges as opportunities. We understand our customer’s world and the daily challenges they can be faced with. Due to the Metso Outotec solution, Eti Bakır Mazıdağı was able to recover more precious metals than they hoped would be possible. There’s a strength in partnerships, and a power in innovation. That’s why, together, we are the partner for positive change.
This article is part of our Hydrometallurgy Newsletter Issue 1/2020. Visit the issue front page for all articles and greetings from Mikko Rantaharju, Vice President of Hydrometallurgy business line.