Bessemer matte

Bessemer matte

[′bes·ə·mər ′mat]
(metallurgy)
Product of the oxidation of furnace matte; contains nickel, copper, cobalt, precious metals, and about 22% sulfur.
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Converters are part of the sequenced smelting process, converting furnace matte into bessemer matte, and removing more iron and sulphur to send precious metals downstream to the refinery to begin the first stages of copper-nickel separation.
The smelter produces blister copper (98% Cu) for shipment to the copper refinery and a slow-cooled Bessemer matte (75% Cu + Ni) which is separated at the matte separation plant into nickel sulfides (mainly heazlewoodite), metallics and copper sulfide (chalcocite).
Prior to 1991, all of the nickel concentrate (10-12% Ni, 2-4% Cu) was roasted in multiple hearth roasters, smelted in oxy-fuel fired reverb furnaces to a matte of 30-34% CuNiCo and further oxidized in Peirce-Smith converters to a low iron Bessemer matte at about 75% CuNiCo and 21-22% S.
The copper from the Bessemer matte is recovered at matte separation and processed in the smelter by oxygen flash converting.