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FACTORS AFFECTING SILICOMANGANESE PRODUCTION

USING MANGANESE RICH SLAG IN THE CHARGE


Silicomanganese is widely used as a complex reducer and an alloying addition in the production of
various grades of steel due to its economic and metallurgical advantages. It is also used as a semiproduct in the manufacture of medium- and low-carbon ferromanganese and metallic manganese.
Manganese-rich slag, resulting from high carbon ferromanganese production, has the advantages of
high manganese content, high Mn/Fe ratio, low excess oxygen, low phosphorus content, low fine
content and low cost. Such slag seems to be very attractive to use as raw materials for the production of
silicomanganese alloys.
In the present study, experimental heats were designed and carried out to optimise the factors affecting
the production process of silicomanganese using manganese rich slag in the charge.
The results of pilot plant experimental heats showed that the optimum metallic yield and recoveries of
manganese and silicon are obtained with initial slag basicity, (CaO + MgO) / (Al2O3), equals 1.8 by
using dolomite as fluxing material and charging quartzite and fluorspar in percentage of 25% and 4% of
the blend, respectively. The results showed also that an amount of 30% of coke in excess of the
stoichiometric amount should be added. These results are relative for the specific high Al2O3 ores used.

The main source of Mn in raw materials for SiMn production is Mn-ore and Mn-rich slag from the high
carbon FeMn production. The amount of slag per tonne of SiMn metal is mainly determined by the
ore/slag ratio. Increasing share of FeMn slag at expense of Mn-ore will lead to larger slag/metal ratio in
the SiMn process. High volume of slag leads to an increased consumption of energy and probably to
higher losses of metal inclusions in the final slag.
Excavation of a SiMn furnace has shown that only modest pre-reduction of Mn-ore with CO gas seems
to be obtained. Nearly all reduction of MnO was finished at the top of the cokebed. Dissolution and
reduction of quartz obviously takes place in the cokebed zone after the main reduction of manganese
oxide is finished. Probably the 'pick up' of Si in the metal is quite fast and takes place as the metal
trickles down through the cokebed towards the metal bath.
The distribution of Si between SiMn alloys and multicomponent MnO-SiO2-CaO-Al2O3-MgO slags is
mainly determined by the process temperature, the silica content of the slag and its R-ratio =
(CaO+MgO)/Al2O3. As an example, the equilibrium content of Si in the alloy will increase by about 6 %
if the R-ratio is reduced from 2 to 1, provided constant temperature and silica content. The effect of
temperature is also considerable. The equilibrium content of silicon will increase by approximately 6 %
per 50C in the temperature range 1550C to 1700C.
The equilibrium content of MnO in SiMn slags depends first of all on the temperature and secondly on
the silica content of the slag. At 1600C the MnO content decreases from about 9 % at silica saturation
to a minimum of about 3-4% when the silica content is reduced to about 40-45%.

TEMCO has been producing manganese ferroalloys in submerged arc electric furnaces for over 40
years. The furnace linings all along have been of conventional insulation type until 2001 when a freeze
lining of UCAR concept was installed for a 20 MW Furnace.
Continuous improvement of furnace lining performance has been a key component in improving the
business competitiveness of TEMCO. The expected minimum campaign life of the freeze lining is fifteen
years as compared to the ten years of the conventional linings.
The success of the freeze lining is very critical to the quanta and direction of heat flow through the lining
that control the freeze protection. Under freeze protection can lead to reduced lining life and over freeze
protection, on the other hand, can lead to operating difficulties and loss of smelting efficiency. It was,
therefore, necessary to develop a computer based system to monitor and control the freeze protection.

The computer based monitoring and control system uses the basic principles of heat transfer, activeX
object and heat flux from dual thermocouples and that is reviewed.
Since 1995, when "freeze lining" refractory systems were introduced to the ferroalloy industry, they have
gained in popularity, due to the freeze lining's reputation for reliability, safety, and the contribution it
makes to profitability.
As with many popular and effective technologies, however, the freeze lining has spawned low-cost
pretenders that claim the "freeze lining" name. On the surface they appear to contain some of the
components of the technology, such as thermally conductive materials, but they fail to incorporate all of
the principles that define a true Freeze Lining.
The term "freeze lining" refers to the refractory system's ability to maintain a temperature profile that is
low enough to freeze a layer of process material on its hot face, which insulates the refractory and
prevents direct contact with molten metal and slag. In doing so, the common wear mechanisms found in
the submerged arc furnace - chemical attack, erosion, and thermal stress - can be prevented. These
wear mechanisms are all related to high temperature; thus, they are prevented by maintaining low
temperatures.
Certain refractory properties and design concepts are absolutely necessary for the lining system to
function as a true Freeze Lining. The paper explains these requirements and why they are important the Truth of freeze linings - and further explains why systems that ignore one or more of these
requirements cannot claim to be freeze linings, thereby exposing the Myths.
The lining, together with the electrodes, forms the heart of the operation of a submerged arc furnace.
Subsequent to a lining failure on M12 furnace during the early 1980s, Metalloys was active in
investigating the concept of thermally efficient "freeze" linings for its furnaces. The theory revolved
around that, not only would, thermally efficient linings result in significant cost savings, but they would
also last longer as a result of being subjected to less harsh operational conditions. After having proved
the concept on the "smaller" furnaces, Metalloys decided to implement the concept on its largest
submerged arc furnace, M12.
Subsequent to having recovered from an impending failure of a lining installed in 1981 in M12 in the mid
1980s, Metalloys managed, through rigid lining management, to extend the life of this lining to 1999. At
the end of 1999 the decision to replace the lining in the furnace with a "freeze" lining was made and
planning and design proceeded in earnest. This paper discusses the options considered in making the
final decision. The features of the design of the lining are also discussed. Consideration is given to the
furnace shell cooling system as a result of its importance in maintaining the thermal equilibrium in the
lining.
Note is made of the fact that the purchase of a "freeze" lining is an expensive exercise but that the time
savings in the installation of the lining and the efficiency improvements during operation far outweigh the
additional capital cost. The experience on M12 has been that the payback period of the marginal capital
expenditure is less than three years.
As a result of the opportunity to reline a furnace the size of M12 not presenting itself very often, the
learning points from the installation of the lining and the operational advantages and disadvantages are
significant.
Finally, the point is made that the project had its pros and cons but overall the success of the project has
been evident and, as such, the "freeze" lining is likely to become the norm at Metalloys.

BRIQUETTED CHROME ORE FINES UTILISATION IN


FERROCHROME PRODUCTION AT ZIMBABWE ALLOYS
The ever-increasing pressure on the profit margins of ferro-chrome producers and the gradual depletion
of deposits of rich hard lumpy chrome ores calls for the ferrochrome industry to maximise the use of fine
fractions of concentrates and friable chromite ores. Zimbabwe is endowed with huge deposits of
refractory and friable ores that occur on and off the Great Dyke complex. The conventional metallurgical
process of smelting of chromite ores in submerged arc furnaces is favoured by the use of refractory
hard lumpy ores. The requirement to use all lumpy ore has been circumvented to a large extent at

Zimbabwe Alloys. The use of briquetted chrome ore fines in the production of Ferrosilicon Chrome and
High Carbon Ferrochrome has yielded positive results over a period in excess of twenty-five years.
Of the three industrially used methods of agglomeration of chromite ores; sintering, pelletisation and
briquetting, briquetting is preferred because the other two are associated with higher capital and
operational cost.
Zimbabwe Alloys has developed operational and technical expertise on the briquetting and utilisation of
chromite ore fines and concentrates. Variations in the quality of available chromite ore fines imply that
their amenability to briquetting is a dynamic problem. Appropriate briquetting parameters to guarantee
quality briquettes are essential to the successful use of briquetted chromite ore fines.
In developing a technology for briquetting of chromite ores, it is important not only to study the
mineralogical and grain-size characteristics of the chromite ore fines but also to make an informed
choice of the type and quantity of the binder and the conditions for producing a physically and
chemically competent green and cured briquette.
This paper discusses Zimbabwe Alloys' experience on the briquetting process and the advantages
derived in the smelting of the briquetted chromite ore fines in comparison to the use of conventional
lumpy chromite ore with respect to improvements in chromium recovery and as a consequence related
efficiencies and unit cost of production.

Energy consumption, being a large proportion of the input of the ferroalloy production process, can be
measured in terms of the efficiency with which the energy is utilized and the effectiveness with which it
is used. The efficiency of the usage of energy revolves around the specific consumption of the energy
for the production of the alloy, which encompasses the thermodynamic aspects of the process and is
more of a metallurgical function that will not be addressed further in this paper. The effectiveness with
which the energy is utilized is determined by the optimisation of the electricity supply from the utility (in
this case Eskom).