First Quantum Minerals Ltd. has contracted with MECS, Inc., a subsidiary of Elessent Clean Technologies, for the smelter expansion at the Kansanshi mine in Zambia. The MECS scope will include a redesign of the existing sulphur-burning sulphuric acid plant into a copper smelter off-gas recovery sulphuric acid plant. This transition to a copper smelter off-gas recovery acid plant will enable First Quantum to reduce emissions from the existing copper smelter, increase production at the mine, and supply more copper to the global market which will enable the adoption of greener technologies.

“The expansion of the Kansanshi mine and transition to a smelter off-gas recovery sulphuric acid plant is an integral step to the extended life of the mining operation,” said Brian Blair, MECS Global Licensing Manager for Elessent.” It was important for Kansanshi and First Quantum to embark on this expansion by using environmentally sound practices, and MECS is honored to play a part in this project.”

The new design incorporates an MECS catalyst for low emissions and high conversion, Brink mist eliminators and ZeCor alloy towers, ZeCor pump tanks and UniFlo acid distributor technology for operational reliability and efficiency.

“Not only is MECS helping to extend the life of the mine and optimize operations, but we are also in a unique position to help make a tremendously positive impact on the environment by helping reduce emissions,” said Eli Ben-Shoshan, CEO, Elessent.

The MECS sulphuric acid technology has been in use for nearly a century in other industries. It includes heat recovery systems (HRS), SolvR regenerative SO2 scrubbing and MAX3 sulphuric acid production technology. Integrated into these MECS technologies are proven specialty products such as catalysts, mist eliminators, scrubbers, corrosion resistant alloy products, and acid coolers all of which are specifically designed for the most demanding operating environments. The MECS technology is the world-leading sulphuric acid production technology with more than 1,000 plant licenses and projects.

Startup of the Kansanshi smelter expansion is expected to take place in 2025.