Industrial Process Case Study: Xstrata Produced Acidic Oxide

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CASE STUDY 1: Xstrata
Produced Acidic Oxide – SULFUR DIOXIDE
Industrial Process – Sulfur Dioxide is an acidic oxide produced domestically and industrially in many ways. Xstrata, particularly Mount Isa Mines LTD, produces sulfur dioxide as a by-product from the extraction of copper from ores. Copper ore mined in Australia is predominantly chalcopyrite (CuFeS2), a sulfide ore of copper. The extraction of copper begins with crushing the ore and subjecting the crushed ore to froth floatation. In this the concentrated copper ores float to the top of a bath and are collected, and the gangue (rock and other unwanted silicate materials) are left behind. The concentrated ore is now predominantly CuFeS2 and is roasted in air with the following
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The Copper (II) Sulfide (CuS) is then heated at 1100oC, with crushed limestone and sand, and is converted to Copper (I) Sulfide (Cu2S). The Copper (I) Sulfide is then roasted in air and some is oxidised to Cu2O. These two then react to form Copper metal, Both reactions described below – 2Cu2S(s) + 3O2(g) → 2Cu2O + 2SO2 2Cu2O(s) + Cu2S(s) → 6Cu(l) +SO2
This is the end of the processes that produce the oxide. The Copper goes through more refining electrolytically. Evidently, Sulfur Dioxide is a major by-product
Impacts –
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) has many detrimental effects to society and environment. Firstly, exposure to high levels (10-50 parts per million (PPM)) of SO2 can cause irritation to the eyes, throat, nose and airways. This causing coughing, wheezing and serious breathing problems to asthma sufferers. A more common effect on society and the environment is it dissolving in water and oxygen in the atmosphere to form acid rain – SO2(g) + H2O(g) → H2SO3 2H2SO3 + O2 →
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Port Kembla Steelworks has spent $18 million on upgraded sinter machines that reduce the amount of coke need for the sintering process. The sintering process being getting the small particle of iron that were too small to go through processing and putting them through 1100-1300oC heat they will coalesce and form larger particles which improves resource efficiency. The upgrade involve using natural gas rather than coke to generate the heat in the machine because natural gas has a higher heat of combustion than coke and therefore needs less to fuel the same get the same heat. This means less CO2 emissions and less fuel needed to

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