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Amplats acquires WSA tech for reduced sulphur emissions

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has signed a contract to acquire catalysis and process technology company Haldor Topsoe’s Wet Gas Sulfuric Acid (WSA) sulphur emissions control technology for its platinum smelter facility, in Polokwane, Limpopo.

The WSA technology ensures compliance with environmental regulations and offers a ‘perfect match’ to the often challenging requirements of metallurgical smelters and roasters, said Amplats.

The WSA plant will reduce sulphur emissions from 90 000 mg/Nm3 to less than 1 200 mg/Nm3, while producing 148 t/d of sulphuric acid.

“Sulphur emissions control has become a prerequisite in the South African smelter industry. We wanted a solution that would ensure environmental compliance and make a convincing business case. WSA ticked both fields,” noted Amplats smelting and refining technology head Dr Lloyd Nelson.

Newly enforced regulations in South Africa limit the emission of sulphur and require sulphur-emitting facilities to install an abatement technology.

WSA is a leading sulphur emissions control technology for wet gas applications. Its recovery of process heat makes it extremely energy-efficient and, consequently, it uses no or very little support fuel. WSA does not produce any waste and requires only minimal cooling water.

The WSA plant ordered by Amplats 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 more African companies.

Globally, 160 WSA plants have been commissioned.

The contract covers basic engineering, license, proprietary equipment, catalyst, training, and supervision services. Hatch in South Africa has been selected for the engineering, procurement, and construction management of the project and will be managing the completion of the project on behalf of Amplats.