Pyrometallurgy Innovation Centre (PYROSEARCH)

Cu-ME consortium

Minor Elements Distribution in Copper Smelting Systems

ARC Linkage project LP140100480:

“Creating sustainable copper supplies by using innovative high temperature chemical processing of highly complex impure ores and recycled materials”

Project summary:

Most of the world’s copper is produced using high temperature chemical processing (smelting). Both primary ores and recycled raw materials contain valuable elements and also potentially harmful impurity elements. To unlock and utilise current and new resources, and also minimise the environmental impacts the industry has identified the need for new fundamental scientific data that describe the chemical behaviour of impurity elements in these systems. The project aims to then use the data to develop powerful computer-based thermodynamic models that can predict the products of complex industrial processes. These sophisticated tools are intended to then be used to improve the performance of existing industrial operations and assist in the development of new process designs.

Distribution of minor elements between slag and Cu, calculated using FactSage software and proprietary database


Consortium of copper producers on:

“Fundamental studies in non-ferrous processing chemistry”

Partner organisations:

  • Olympic Dam Corporation, BHP Billiton (Australia)
  • Outotec (Finland) Oy
  • Complejo Metalúrgico Altonorte, Glencore (Chile)
  • Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation,
  • Glencore (Philippines)
  • Kazzinc Ltd ,Glencore (Kazakhstan)
  • Umicore NV (Belgium)
  • Atlantic Copper (Spain)
  • Aurubis AG (Germany)
  • Anglo American Pt  (South Africa)

This consortium is open to join! Contact the Centre Director for more information.

Pb consortium

Consortium of lead producers.

ARC Linkage project LP150100783:

“Fundamental studies in non-ferrous processing chemistry for lead smelting, refining and recycling”

Project summary:

The aim of the project is to provide new data and thermodynamic modelling tools to be used in the development of the next generation of lead metal smelting, refining and recycling processes used to recycle electronic materials, process hazardous wastes and recover valuable metals. The intention is to combine recently developed experimental techniques with the latest advances in FactSage chemical thermodynamic modelling to overcome long-standing experimental and modelling obstacles. The new experimental data and databases are intended to provide important information on high-temperature chemistry of complex phase equilibria and on the distribution of minor elements in multiphase systems.


Professor Evgueni Jak; Professor Peter Hayes.

An SEM micrograph of the quenched slag/matte/lead/SiO2 sample in the mixed lead/copper smelting system

Partner organisations:

  • Nyrstar (Australia)
  • Outotec Pty Ltd (Australia)
  • Aurubis AG (Germany)
  • Umicore NV (Belgium)
  • Kazzinc Ltd, Glencore (Kazakhstan)

This consortium is open to join! Contact the Centre Director for more information.