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New precious metal recovery plant cuts emissions by one third

A €4.9m contract came to fruition recently for GEA Bischoff with the grand opening of AURUBIS’ new precious metal recovery plant, in Hamburg, Germany. GEA’s environmental protection specialist was responsible for the engineering, supply, erection and commissioning of a new gas cleaning application for the plant’s drive convertor.

The new plant, which is the largest of its kind in the world, was opened by Peter Altmaier, Germany’s Federal Minister for the Environment in August, 2013. The plant will cut the company’s energy consumption by one-third saving up to 460 tonnes of CO2 being displaced into the atmosphere every year. The drying of anode sludge (from which copper and other precious metals are extracted by smelting using a cutting-edge, one-step process) enables AURUBIS to make an effective contribution to preserving natural resources in an environmentally sustainable way.

GEA Bischoff was commissioned on the €50 m project in February 2010. The brief was to create a system to reduce emissions radically and align it with stringent requirements of the German TA air regulations. 30% of AURUBIS’ investment was dedicated to environmental protection technologies of which GEA Bischoff supplied a significant part. 8,000 tonnes of gold and silver-containing precious metal residues will be processed from copper recovery operations at the plant. This has enabled an increased gold recovery in Hamburg from 35 to 50 tonnes per year.

The gas cleaning system supplied by GEA Bischoff consists of a quench tower; a radial flow scrubber; a wet electrostatic precipitator; a fan and a series of feed tanks. The new copper recycling plant is the first time the company has been able to process the precious metal anode slimes from Germany, Bulgaria and Belgium at one central location.

“The new system makes an effective contribution to the environment by reducing SO2 and other toxic emissions,” said Marcus Michel, GEA Bischoff’s Managing Director. “I believe GEA has proven to be the right partner for developing innovative emission control technologies for AURUBIS.”

The project was also part-funded by the Environmental Innovation Programme of the Federal Ministry for the Environment.

Process Industry Informer

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