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System dynamics and discrete event simulation of copper smelters

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2017, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 96-106

Navarra, A.; Marambio, H.; Oyarzun, F.; Parra, R.; Mucciardi, F.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.19150/mmp.7510


Discrete event simulation (DES) is an appropriate framework for the plant-wide analysis of copper smelters. These smelters apply a common set of chemical reactions: copper-iron sulfides are blasted with oxygen-enriched air, sending the iron into a slag phase and the sulfur into the offgas. Moreover, conventional copper smelters exhibit similar operational dynamics: a smelting furnace operates continually, feeding into an alternating set of converters that produce batches of blister copper. The thermochemical and operational commonalities of copper smelters are integrated within the DES framework. This serves as a common basis to begin evaluating the system dynamics of individual smelters. For complex problems, the simulation framework should be developed in phases, incorporating feedback from different personnel who have complementary perspectives. Sample computations are provided in this paper based on the Hernán Videla Lira smelter, whose production is constrained by meteorological conditions.