In 2020, Sun Metals Corporation began a A$455 million expansion of the zinc refinery. The expansion includes process automation and digital transformation projects that are expected to accelerate business improvement. The company expects annual production to increase to 300,000MT per annum when the expansion is complete in 2021.
(Source: Australian Trade and Investment Commission, Australian Export & Investment Awards, https://www.exportawards.gov.au/stories/sun-metals-corporation-finds-a-sustainable-future-in-australia#:~:text=In%202020%2C%20Sun%20Metals%20began,expansion%20is%20complete%20in%202021)
Currently, the Townsville zinc refinery uses a conventional leaching process to extract zinc from zinc concentrate, achieving 88% recovery of zinc from the concentrate. Sun Metal’s parent company, Korea Zinc Company Limited has developed a ‘ferric oxide’ leaching process, which increases the recovery of zinc from zinc concentrate to 98%. The ferric oxide upgrade process is part of the works to increase production capacity at the Townsville refinery.
Construction of a new electrolysis cell house is also part of the refinery’s upgrade works. This will provide the electroplating capacity needed to extract the additional zinc from the leached solution and convert it to zinc metal.
The expansion project aims to deliver new facilities at the existing Sun Metals Corporation zinc refinery, including a new electrolysis building, ferric oxide facilities, and leaching and purification areas. These works are required to increase production at the plant. The electrolysis and ferric oxide facilities are being constructed to support or replace existing structures, while the leaching and purification works will assist in accommodating more load through the plant.
LCJ Engineers has provided onsite civil and structural engineering and project management services since October 2019 to assist with construction works for this milestone project. Our staff have been involved in:
- obtaining the Building Approval for the project
- weekly site meetings
- periodic inspections to ensure compliance with design intent for structural steelwork
- review of shop drawings
- responding to Requests for Information
- review of compliance to specification including mill certificates, weld procedure checks and paint specification review
- preparation of As Constructed drawings