Flowserve Receives Valve Order for Hydromet Plant
At Long Harbour, Vale NL is constructing a large plant to process nickel-cobaltcopper concentrate using an innovative hydrometallurgical process. The plant is an integral part of the company’s Voisey’s Bay project development, which also includes a mine and concentrator in Labrador, as well as the Long Harbour facilities.
In the hydromet process developed by Vale for sulphide concentrate, a finely ground nickel-cobalt-copper concentrate will be processed in a pressurized vessel where it will react with oxygen and sulphuric acid to produce an impure solution of nickel, cobalt and copper. This solution will pass through a number of chemical purification steps ending with removal of impurities and separation of nickel, copper and cobalt. The copper and cobalt will be recovered as by-products. The nickel will be recovered by electrolysis as high-quality electronickel product suitable for market. The waste solids from the process will be neutralized with lime and will be deposited in a specially designed disposal facility.
Vale expects the $2.8-billion Long Harbour plant to begin production by the end of this year. Interestingly, it will not initially process Voisey’s Bay material; instead, the company will process nickel feed sourced from Indonesia in the early stages of plant startup because that ore has less impurities. It anticipates transitioning to Voisey’s Bay ore in 2014.
Booked in 2012, the Flowserve products included in the Long Harbour order include Worcester 44 series ball valves, Durco T4E lined plug valves, Atomac lined ball valves and McCanna top-entry ball valves. In addition, Flowserve provided a number of valves with customized designs and specialized materials.