A copper smelter can produce over 20 useful products . The key to running a successful smelter operation is the use of good practices and best-available technologies to minimize waste and maximize product value while carefully managing material streams, energy use and emissions to the environment.
The portfolio of a smelter can consist of:
- Copper cathode, Anodes, Blister copper
- Anode slime: Ag, Au, PGM concentrate
- Iron silicate (final slag)
- Lead, tin, alloys
- NiSO4, CuSO4, other salts
- Selenium, tellurium
- Sulfuric acid
- Zinc oxides
- Other metals such as As, Bi, Ir, Ru, Sb, ...
Not all smelters produce the full range of these products. Smelters specialise in particular material streams (e.g. high purity copper, e-waste, low-grade copper materials, ...) and cooperate to concentrate the processing of specific material streams at a sufficient scale.
 See p27 of Organisation Environmental Footprint Sector Rules – Copper production, February 2020, available from https://ec.europa.eu/environment/eussd/smgp/pdf/OEFSR_Copper_Feb2020.pdf (accessed March 16, 2022)
Last update: March 29, 2022