Local smelting specialist scoops R140m contract

8th December 2006 By: Clement Deane

Just over a year ago, Pyromet was awarded a R140-million project to design, construct and commission two 63-MVA closed-type furnaces for Xstrata’s Lion ferrochrome smelter in the Steelpoort area.

COO Pyromet David Kovarsky explains that the two furnaces are expected to process in the region of 330 000 ts of ferrochrome annually. The furnaces are fed by Xstrata’s Premus system that is currently being used at its Lydenburg plant.

The Premus system makes use of a prereduction kiln and the hot, prereduced material is fed into the furnace. It results in a greater throughput through the furnaces and enables the plant to become a competitive, low-cost producer of chrome. Pyromet’s portion of the project is close to complete, and the two furnaces have been commissioned. Kovarsky adds that there are several benefits using a closed-type furnace.

The most important of these is the environmental benefit, as a closed furnace provides more control over the emissions that are released into the atmosphere. Closed furnaces are also friendlier to operating staff, as they are not exposed to as much heat as in semiclosed furnaces.

They are also more efficient, as less heat is lost during the smelting process. Kovarsky says that the two smelters at the Lion ferrochrome plant alone produce more ferro-chrome than any other smelter in the world. The 63-MVA furnaces, working at about 1 700