Thermal and metallurgical engineering specialist Inprotec has finished work on a new ‘clean plant’ antimony and gold processing facility in Sohar in Oman.
Jane Imrie

Wakefield engineering firm goes for gold with Middle East ‘clean’ metals processing plant

An engineering firm based in Wakefield has completed a seven-figure project to support the creation of the world’s first ‘clean’ metals processing plant.

Thermal and metallurgical engineering specialist Inprotec has finished work on a new ‘clean plant’ antimony and gold processing facility in Sohar in Oman.

Created by Strategic & Precious Metals Processing LLC (SPMP), the facility has the capacity to produce more than 50,000 ounces of gold per annum and 20,000 tonnes of antimony, which is used to fireproof printed circuit boards and other electronics, and often alloyed with other metals such as lead for use in lead-acid batteries.

Over the course of the two-year project, Inprotec designed, manufactured, and commissioned two drum-style furnaces, known as refining converters, which are used to remove any impurities in the final stage of refining antimony.

Inprotec also provided all of the ancillary plant required to support the two refining converters, including a trough-like molten metal launder system to carry molten alloys from one location to another using gravity, and an air lancing system used in the refining process.

Inprotec MD, Chris Oldroyd, commented: “Most people haven’t heard of antimony as it’s not the headline grabbing commodity that gold is, but it has been categorised as a critical raw material in recent years due to the fact that it’s used widely in electronics.

“Over the last two years we’ve worked closely with SPMP to design, supply and commission a world-leading plant that enables them to cost-effectively, efficiently and safely refine antimony.”

David Fourie, smelting manager at SPMP, added: “Not only is this the first antimony roaster to be built outside of China in the last 30 years, but it’s also the world’s first ‘clean plant’, designed and built to the highest environmental standards.

“It’s an incredible feat of engineering and Inprotec’s skilled team have played a key part in helping us to realise this hugely impressive plant and its world-leading capabilities.”

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