By Nick Gilbert
Praxair announced that its Canadian subsidiary has entered into a new oxygen supply agreement with Vale, a global mining company. Under the terms of the agreement, Praxair Canada will supply oxygen to Vals’s new nickel refinery that is under construction in Long Harbor, Newfoundland.
An innovative hydrometallurgical process has been developed by Vale which will use oxygen to remove iron and sulfur from nickel. In contrast to traditional nickel refining techniques, the new process enables processing of nickel ore concentrate into finished metals directly, without the need for smelting the ore initially. In addition, the process avoids dust and sulfur dioxide emissions. Nickel is used as key material in several industries, such as aircraft, to manufacture stainless steel and other alloys.
Don Stevens, GM of Long Harbour Processing Plant, Vale, stated that their world-class nickel processing facility will employ advanced technology and its operation is expected to be cost effective and efficient. They have chosen Praxair as it is known for providing a reliable and steady supply of low cost and high quality oxygen and Vale is looking forward to a long term association with the company, added Stevens.
Praxair has planned to construct, own and operate a cryogenic air separation facility, which will have a production capacity of 390 tons per day. The facility is anticipated to commence operation in mid 2013.