Outotec is a leading global provider of process solutions, technologies, and services for the mining and metals industries. Building on decades of experience and advanced process expertise, the company’s solutions are largely based on its proprietary know-how.
The use of metals has increased dramatically in recent years, thanks in large part to the dynamism of the world’s growth economies. Rising demand has resulted in shortages of some metals and pushed up prices as well, and has triggered a wave of investments across the mining and metallurgical sector on a scale that few can remember. Investments are expected to continue at a high level for some time to come.
The scale and longevity of mining and metallurgical projects mean that technological decisions made early on can have far-reaching consequences. Technologies, once installed, are often in use for decades, and selecting systems that have been designed to generate a low level of ecological impact can benefit the environment significantly for decades to come, in terms of things like emissions and energy efficiency.
Investment decisions are shaped not only by environmental norms, of course, but also by the expectations of banks and financial institutions and shareholders, all of which are placing increasing emphasis on sustainability and responsibility. This is as true of projects in developing countries as of those in the industrialised world.
|Outotec has an impressive track record in supplying sulphuric acid plants, and these account for over 30% of world production today.
Environmental practice in Europe is often used as the reference for new projects, and the system of Best Available Techniques (BAT) established there is a widespread yardstick for deciding which technologies to go with. Finland, in particular, has been a leading developer of BAT processes, and virtually all the metallurgical processes developed and currently in use in Finland meet BAT criteria.
The relatively short history of the metallurgical industry in Finland and the fact that Finland has traditionally lacked capital, energy, and many key commodities in large quantities have contributed to this innovative mind-set. An early awareness of the importance of the environment and environmentally friendly technology has also been a factor.
|By combining the inherent advantages of fluidised bed combustion technology with knowledge gained from extensive R&D in solids ﬂuidisation and heat transfer, Outotec has achieved a new quality benchmark in alumina calcination.
The best results are achieved when excellent environmental and energy-efficient performance is built into processes from the very start, at the system level. Done intelligently, this also results in processes that offer significantly better economic competitiveness than conventional solutions.
Good examples of this approach are Outotec’s Flash Smelting and Flash Converting technologies for producing copper, its innovative approach to producing sulphuric acid, and its pelletising, sintering, and smelting systems for ferrous metals and ferroalloys – all of which are at the cutting edge of technological development in their respective fields.
These and other Outotec technologies deliver improved environmental – and economic – performance by making better use of raw material inputs, using less energy to produce a given amount of output, consuming less water and other utilities, reducing emissions, and creating a safer operational and working environment.