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Glencore completes rebrick of Mount Isa copper smelter


Jun. 20, 2022 - Glencore has successfully completed a multi-million dollar rebrick project at its Mount Isa Mines copper smelter.

More than 60,000 specially made refractory bricks were shipped from Europe for the project which also included repairs to the candy-striped stack.

The main works involved replacing 16,530 bricks in the ISASMELT furnace, 24,600 in a rotary holding furnace and 16,050 in an anode furnace in the smelter. The bricks in the vessels erode because of the temperatures of up to 1,200 degrees Celsius and are replaced approximately every four years.

During the five week maintenance shutdown of the operation for the project, the copper smelter's workforce more than doubled, with an additional 350 contractors joining our 255 employees, including 80 specialist refractory brick layers, as well as riggers, fitters, boilermakers, electricians, spotters and crane operators.

Adrian Herbert, General Manager of Smelting and Refining at Mount Isa Mines said it was a significant project, both in scale for the business and also for the Mount Isa community.

"The smelter also supports another 240 people who work at Glencore's copper refinery at Townsville, which converts the copper anode into copper cathode for export," Mr Herbert said.

The bricks that were removed will be reprocessed at the Mount Isa copper concentrator as they contain a percentage of copper.

Built in 1953 the copper smelter produces anode which s further refined as 99.995% pure cathode at Glencore's Townsville copper refinery and shipped around the world.

The copper smelter is the largest in Australia and one of only two that remain in the country, the other at Olympic Dam, South Australia.
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