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ArticleName On the problem of processing of copper-nickel sulphide ores of the Voronezh region
DOI 10.17580/tsm.2020.09.03
ArticleAuthor Tsemekhman L. Sh., Tsymbulov L. B., Maksimov V. I.

Gipronikel Institute LLC, Saint Petersburg, Russia:
L. B. Tsymbulov, Director of the Research & Development Department, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor
V. I. Maksimov, Head of the Laboratory for Geological Studies of Raw Materials


L. Sh. Tsemekhman, Editorial Board Member at Tsvetnye Metally, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, e-mail:


In the period from 1970 to 1980, five copper-nickel ore deposits of commercial significance were discovered in the Voronezh Region. In February 2012, Rosnedra announced a tender to choose a mining contactor for these deposits. Mednogorsk Copper-Sulphur Plant, a part of the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company, won that tender. In the middle of the 1990s, Gipronikel Institute received an ore sample taken from the Yelan deposit, which had the following composition, % wt: 1.3 Ni; 0.13 Cu; 0.038 Co; 11.1 Fe; 4.6 S; 46.9 SiO2; 11.2 MgO; 0.03 As. What differentiates these ores from the process point of view is a drastically high nickel-tocopper ratio (~10:1) and high concentrations of arsenic and magnesium oxide. Gipronikel Institute developed an ore concentration process that enabled to produce both medium-quality (5.8–8.5% Ni; 17–26% S; 7–12% MgO) and high quality (13.5% Ni; 30% S; 5% MgO) concentrates. The paper examines some pyrometallurgical techniques that can be used to process the Voronezh concentrates. A laboratory study was conducted to confirm the behaviour of arsenic. The paper examines the possibility to process the Voronezh concentrates at the sites owned by UMMC. Combined processing of copper and copper-nickel concentrates would not be feasible. To be able to process copper-nickel concentrates, the site will need to undergo a major revamping requiring some capital costs. To choose the best option, one should conduct studies in the following areas:
– optimization of the concentration processes applicable to the Voronezh ores;
– smelting in a single- and dual-zone Vanyukov furnace;
– oxidizing roasting of the concentrate and reducing roasting of the hot cinders in a DC electric furnace;
– hydrometallurgical processing of high-grade mattes and converter mattes.

keywords Voronezh concentrates, nickel, copper, magnesium, arsenic, sulphur, concentration, flotation, roasting, smelting, hydrometallurgy, matte, converter matte, slag

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