11 November 2020

A Wakefield-based thermal and metallurgical engineering company has completed seven-figure project to support the creation of a new antimony and gold processing facility in Sohar, Oman.

The facility, known as an antimony roaster, is said to be the largest of its kind outside of China and the world’s first 'clean plant', designed and built to EU environmental standards.

Created by Strategic & Precious Metals Processing (SPMP), it 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.

Inprotec was approached by SPMP and lead engineering contractor Worley Parsons in recognition of its expertise in designing, supplying and commissioning bespoke furnaces used to melt, smelt and refine non-ferrous and precious metals.

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. It also provided all of the ancillary plant required to support the two refining converters.

Following extensive testing, the facility recently produced its first refined antimony and, once fully operational, the plant is expected to account for between 12-15 per cent of the world's production of the material.

Inprotec managing director Chris Oldroyd said: "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 world-leading plant that enables them to cost-effectively, efficiently and safely refine antimony."