Anglo American Platinum has signed a contract for Topsoe’s Wet gas Sulfuric Acid (WSA) sulfur emissions control technology, for a platinum smelter facility in Polokwane.

According to the miner, the WSA technology ensures compliance with environmental regulations and offers a perfect match to the challenging requirements of metallurgical smelters and roasters.

“WSA is a proven and very cost-efficient technology to control sulfur emissions and produces commercial-grade sulfuric acid that can be sold,” said Dr. Lloyd Nelson, Head of Smelting & Refining Technology, Metallurgy, Anglo American Platinum.

“The WSA plant is designed to drastically reduce emissions of SO2 from the platinum smelter from around 90 000 mg/Nm3 to less than 1 200 mg/Nm3. It will produce up to 148 tons per day of sulfuric acid.”

Nelson said sulfur emissions control had become a business prerequisite in the South African smelter industry. He said Anglo wanted a solution that would ensure environmental compliance now and in the foreseeable future as well as make a convincing business case.

“WSA ticked both fields,” he said.

Why WSA?

Newly enforced regulations in South Africa limits the emission of sulfur (SO2) and requires sulfur-emitting facilities to install an abatement technology.

Anglo said WSA’s recovery of process heat made it extremely energy-efficient and consequently it used no or very little support fuel.

The miner added, “Another great thing about WSA is that it does not produce any waste and requires only minimal cooling water.”

The WSA plant ordered by Anglo will be the second in Africa. As governments and investors across the continent implement stricter environmental guidelines, the technology is expected to be adopted by many more African companies. Around the world, 160 WSA plants have been commissioned.

The contract covers basic engineering, license, proprietary equipment, catalyst, training, and supervision services. Hatch in South Africa have been selected by AAP for Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Management (EPCM) and will be managing the completion of the project on behalf of Anglo.