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Extracting value from the

waste

Prof. Anthimos Xenidis


CEO
LARCO SA

EIT Raw Materials: 1st Greek Raw Materials Sector Dialogue


Athens, 23 24 Nov. 2016

Outline
The company
The process
Problems Strategic/Business Plan
Waste produced recycled reused. Further developments

Energy Losses Potential for exploitation


Conclusions

G.M.M.S.A. LARCO
LARCO is a mining and metallurgical company, which
prospects and exploits laterites in order to produce
ferronickel alloy (FeNi)
LARCO is today the sole ferronickel producer in European
Union from local deposits, covering 6-7 % of European market
annual demand in nickel
Among the companys customers are the greatest stainless
steel producers of western Europe

GMMASA LARCO is a 100% exporting company and is


considered among the most reliable producers in the global
nickel market

History of LARCO
1963

LARCO was founded in order to exploit the lateritic ores of


Lokrida district.

1966

the smelter in Larymna began its operations using as feed


the ore from nearby Agios Ioannis deposit

1969

Evia Mines started their production

1977

Servia Lignite Mines started production

1997

Kastoria Mines started laterite production

Kastoria Mines (KM):

Euboea Mines (EM):

Located in Ieropigi of Kastoria


Annual production: 400,000 tons of
ore (1.17% Ni)

Mines with the grater production


Annual production: 1.2 - 1.5 mil. tons
of ore (1% Ni)

Ag. Ioannis Mines (IM):


Serbia Lignite Mine
(LM):,
Located in Serbia of Kozani
Annual production : 300,000
tons of lignite

Located in Neo Kokkino of Viotia


Annual production: 500.000
600.000 tons of ore (0,9% Ni)

Athens Headquarters

Larymna Smelting Plant


(SP):
Located in Larymna of Fthiotida
Total annual quantity of ore processed:
2.3 mil. tons
Annual nickel production (Ni): 18,000 tons

Production process
Laterite and
lignite
production

Geological
research

Stripping

Internal
transfer

Mining

Processing

Laterite & Lignite

Transfer in Smelting Plant

Metallurgy

Handling of raw
materials &
preparation of the
metallurgical mixture

Pre-heating and
pre-reduction in
the Rotary Kilns

Electric Furnace
reductive
smelting

Enrichment Refining in OBM


type Converters

Market output

Sales

Ferronickel
(Fe-Ni)

Slag

Lignite

Aggregates

SCRAPS

CO2
allowances

Other

Annual production: 1.2 to 1.5 million tones


of ore
5 Open pit excavations
Owned and contracted equipment
Crusher - Screener - Enrichment Port
installations
200 employees

Annual production: 500,000 600,000 tones of ore


4 Open pit excavations Underground excavations under suspension
Owned and contracted equipment
Crusher - Screener - Enrichment installations
120 employees

Annual production: 350-400.000 tones of ore


3 Open pit excavations
Contracted equipment
Crusher - Screener - Enrichment installations
35 employees

Annual production: 400.000 tones of lignite


Contracted equipment
Crusher - Screener installations
13 employees
Lignite is sent to Larymna Smelter and Public Power Corporation
plants

Pyrometallurcical processing
Annual production: 19.000 tones of ferronickel
800 employees

Waste
streams
considered

Cement
Comminution

Pelletizing
Pellets Lignite

Coal

Dust

Laterite

Clean
gases

Dedusting
Installation

Off gases

Air
air

air

air

Fuel oil

Metallurgical mixture preparation

Calcine

Rotary kiln
Clean gases
Bag filters
Dry dust

Coolants
Lime, Home scraps

FeNi - 13

Slag
(sub-product)

OBM Converter
solids
gases

Electric
furnace

O2
FeNi - 20

Slag

Clam
shell

4 R/Ks
10% of their feed
outflows with fluegasses
A great part of dust is
recycled following
palletization

Historical dust stockpiles of around 2 Mt close to the factory

Environmental problem
Occupation of vital area
Value (est. to 45 M)

5 E/Fs
20 45 MW, AC
Submerged arc
Open hearth
12% Ni FeNi is produced
Main waste/by-product:
Slag (approx. 2 Mt per year)

2 OBM converters
Final Ni content around 20%
Low S content (<0.11-0.12%)
Converter slag is produced (around 100.000 Mt / year)

Worldwide production and consumption of primary nickel(000 t)*


CAGR
3,6%
4,1%
1.963
1.602 1.607

1.760 1.668

2011

2012

Production

Consumption

1.994
1.785

1.868

1.940 1.880

1.913 1.962

Increase of both
production and
consumption

2013

2014

2015

2016

Source: INSG

Decrease of Ni price
Average value around
8700 USD/tn
Lasted for more than
10 months
Significant problems
for the company

*Data from LARCO Business Plan 2016 2018, Kantor Management


Consultants

Sales Ni (t)

Production and sales


around 18000 tn

CAGR

-1,4%
18.594

19.071

2011

2012

17.054

17.882

17.541

2013

2014

2015

Aver.

18.028

Significant decrease of
income from Ni sales
due to the lower
average Ni price
108 M difference
from year 2011

Revenues from sales Ni (000 )


000
450.000
300.000

300.064
22,7

150.000
0

000 $/t

CAGR

2011

265.796

-10,5%

40

-14,2%

30

197.707
17,9

2012

223.812

15,4

16,7

2013

2014

192.815
12,3
2015

20

17

10
0

*Data from LARCO Business Plan 2016 2018, Kantor Management


Consultants

A business plan for the period 2016 2018 has been prepared
by Kantor Management Consultants
Several long and short term measures have been included for
Cost reduction
o

Contractors / subcontractors

o
o
o
o

Personnel
Overheads
Maintenance & operating materials costs
Electricity

Revenue growth
o
o
o

Imports of rich lateritic ores


Increase of revenues for Fe contained in FeNi
Inrease of metallurgical performance

Increase of production

*Data from LARCO Business Plan 2016 2018, Kantor Management


Consultants

*Data from LARCO Business Plan 2016 2018, Kantor Management


Consultants

Long-term measures
Increase of quantities of mining waste reused
o
o

Limestone
Spilitic waste

Increase of metallurgical wastes/by-products utilization rate


o
o
o

Recycle in R/Ks the entire quantity of dust produced


Development of a new plant for the recycling of historical dust
Increase the quantity of electrical furnace slag utilisation rate
o

Sandblasting

As a minor constituent for cement production

For extracting elements

Energy recovery combined with flue gasses treatment


o
o

Treatment of electric arc furnace flue gasses for energy recovery and dedusting
Energy recovery from liquid slag

Hydrometallurgical treatment of low-grade laterites to recover Ni and Co


Expansion of the Larymna harbor to increase the capacity of boats for
waste (slag) and raw materials (laterite, carbon) transportation

Limestone
Quantities and revenues decreased (2009-2015)

Spilitic mine wastes


Chemical analysis
Constituents
(wt%)
SiO2
38.41
Al2O3
13.69
Fe2O3
9.58
CaO
10.69
MgO
9.23
K2O
1.89
Na2O
2.59
TiO2
1.67
LOI
1.26

It can be used as
It can be used in road
construction works
Drainage layer in landfills

Mineralogical / Rietveld analysis

Geotechnical tests
From

To

12

15

With 2SO4

With MgSO4

12

AIV

10

17

PSV

57

61

AAV

Los Angeles
ASTM C88

Spilitic mine wastes


Production almost ceased in 2012
There is a sales rebound in 2015
It is estimated that the production will be doubled in 2017

Electric Arc Furnace Slags


Annual production around 2 million tonnes

Electric Arc Furnace Slags


Around 300,000 tons are used by
small plants for the production of
sandblasting material
The rest is currently disposed of
at the sea bed of North Evoikos
gulf
A non-hazardous landfill have
been constructed in Liavda
(around 5 km from the plant)

The company envisages the increase of the amount of slag used for
sandblasting, however,
due to the low price of the material
Potential clients are not close to the metallurgical plant
The expansion of the current harbor to service boats of around 70000 tons is
needed

It will be capable to accept boats of up to 80.000 tons


Surface are will be increased to 5,7 ha
Estimated budget 40 M
Environmental permit has been issued

Electric Arc Furnace Slags Use in the cement industry


Chemical Analysis

Granulometry

A very small part (around 30,000 tons) of the material is currently used
for clinker production
Due to the high amorphous silica content, the material can be used as a
minor additive to the cement production
o EAF slag has not been included in the list of minor additives in the
European standard 197-1
o Several studies have been performed by LARCODOMI in
cooperation with several research bodies (NTUA, EKET, EBETAM)
to prepare and submit studies to the CEN/TC 51/WG 8 working on
the revision of EN 197-1 in order to include EAF slag in the list of
minor additives to cement
o In positive reply, it is estimated that up to 500,000 tons of slag can
be used by the cement industry

Electric Arc Furnace Slags Geopolymers


Several laboratory studies conducted by NTUA (Prof. Panias) and/or
TUC (Prof. Komnitsas) indicated that FeNi slag geopolymers or fire
resistant geopolymers from FeNi slag present similar or even better
properties than commercially available respective materials

Before

After

Fire resistant Geopolymers from FeNi slag

No spalling , creeping phenomena


a)
b)
No damage
No spalling or damage of the protected concrete
Colour change due to phase transformations and alterations of the materials microstructure

There are not yet any commercial geopolymeric products from FeNi
slag

There are three stockpiles very close to the metallurgical plant

Chemical Analysis

Due to the

Advantages
High Ni and C content
Partially reduced material
Ready to be used metallurgical
mixture

Fe (%)

18,92

Ni (%)

1,19

Co (%)

0,07

Si (%)

14,69

Ca (%)

1,44

Mg (%)

4,89

Al (%)

3,71

Cr (%)

1,19

Mn (%)

0,24

C (%)

6,21

S (%)

0,32

Disadvantages
Effects of diagenesis
Partial agglomeration
Variable, high moisture content (up to
20%)

In order to be recycled back to the metallurgical plant


Former palletization is the first option
For pelletization, the material needs to be ground
A proper grinding equipment is needed, which will be capable of treating feed
material of high moisture content (under investigation)

A call of interest has been released


Seven groups have expressed their interest
Several alternatives for treating the
material have been proposed
Dry-wet grinding and pelletizing
Treatment of the entire quantity by following a
hydrometallurgical process

In parallel lab experiments have been


performed
Different binders (cement, benonite) at various
proportions have been tested
The green drop and strength test have been
performed
Reducibility experiments have also been conducted

The cost for the new pelletizing plant was estimated to 7


million
The construction will be ready in three years
Application for environmental permits have been submitted
The total benefit from the project is estimated to 45 million

In contact with
EIB and EBRD for
project funding

Electric Arc Furnace flue gases


Maximum flue gases flow: 30.000 Nm3/h

Average dust content: 20.000 mg/Nm3 (Threshold: 20 mg/Nm3 )


Temperature: 1.000oC, Total energy around 40-50 MW

CO content: variable, up to 10% v/v

1st scenario investigated


To recycle the entire quantity to the R/Ks: Thus, there will not be any need
for installation of a dedusting system and the entire amount of contained
energy will be saved.
The scenario failed due to the risk for CO explosions

2nd scenario investigated (proposed by HATCH): Dedusting with


partial energy saving, by
Diluting flue gases with fresh area
Burning of CO contained

Cooling to 630oC
Feeding R/Ks
Installation of bag house (bak-up)
Preliminary cost estimation: 25-30M

Electric Arc Furnace slag


Outflows the furnace at about 1.400 oC
Most of the energy in E/F is given to slag (power around 80 MW for 5
E/Fs)
There are only a few ideas / applications around the word for
recovery part of energy losses in E/Fs
There are currently contacts with consultants/engineering
companies, to investigate the alternative solutions for energy recovery
from slags, taking into account the specific characteristics of the
material as well as the operational and space limitations in the
metallurgical plant

Due to
The continues decrease of nickel content in laterites

The elevated cost of the pyrometallurgical processes applied

There was continuous efforts by several research teams to


investigate the potential application of hydrometallurgical
processes for nickel and cobalt recovery
Hydrometallurgical treatment of Greek laterites have been tested
At laboratory scale: NTUA (late Prof. A. Kontopoulos, Prof. S. AgatziniLeonardou)
At Pilot Scale: Two cases (a) heap leaching process, and (b) integrated tank
leaching at ambient conditions, neutralisation and solvent
extraction/electrowinning. In both cases, LARCO has actively participated

Heap leaching pilot test


The test has been performed in Agios Ioannis mine with the participation of
IGME, NTUA and LARCO
Sulphuric acid solution (2N) has been used at ambient conditions

After four treatment cycles and


the final washing step, 59% of Ni
contained in laterites was
extracted to the pregnant
solution

Pilot tests (tank extraction and metals recovery steps)


The test has been performed by Hellening Copper Mines (Cyprus) in
cooperation with LARCO
Different leaching options have been investigated

Tank leaching
2_
Pilot tests (tank extraction and metals recovery
steps)
% Ni Rec.

Ni recovery exceeded 90% for


the Kastoria lateritic ores

600

90
500

80

% Ni Recovery

70

400

60
50

300

40
200

30
20

100

10
0
0

24

48

72

96

120

144

168

0
192

Leaching time (hrs)

The main conclusions from the work conducted so far, are:


During the leaching stages, Ni is extracted at different rates for each specific
lateritic ore. Different extraction rates are obtained by applying different
extraction procedure (batch, continuous) and different scale (lab or pilot)
The results are promising, however, further scale up of the experiments is
needed to obtain more accurate results

Acid cons. (kg/tone of ore)

The following stages of iron


precipitation, solvent
extraction and
electrowinning were
successful

Acid cons.

100

Emphasis should be also given to other elements potentially


coexisting in several of the ores to be treated
LARYMNA LATERITE (Ni: 0.64 wt.%, Co: 788 ppm)
EVIA LATERITE (Ni: 0.74 wt.%, Co: 326 ppm)
450
400

350

ppm

300
250
200
150
100
64

42

50
0

Sc

La

Nd

Ce

Dy

Gd

Pr

Er

Sm

Yb

Ho

Eu

Tb

Tm

Lu

By doing so, the process will be economically more favorable

Ch. Nomikou & A. Godelitsas (2016 to be submitted)

LARCO has experienced so far 50 years of continuous operation


Due to the low Ni price a cost reduction/revenues increase plan
has been elaborated
This plan is also accompanied by measures associated with
Getting value from several waste streams
Getting energy from high energy content streams

Parts of this plan are already implemented

For the high cost-long term measures, financial investments is


sought mainly from EIB and EBRD
In parallel, preliminary work (studies and permits) are
performed, in order to be technically and legally ready when the
time for implementation of each measure reaches

Thank you for your attention .

Prof. Anthimos Xenidis


CEO

LARCO SA
E-mail: axen@larco.gr, axen@metal.ntua.gr