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Isasmelt ore smelter
smelting process to separate metals from ores

In 1973 CSIRO began developing a more energy efficient and environmentally safer smelting technology to separate metal from ore.

They teamed up with Mt Isa Mines in 1976 to build new smelting reactors that use special combustion tubes or lances to force superheated air and fuel below the surface of the ore mixture. This mixes the ore around and melts it evenly.

Mt Isa Mines and Ausmelt have been licensed by the CSIRO to market this innovation in Australia and around the world. It is used to separate copper, lead, nickel, zinc and tin from mineral ores.

Who Did It?
Key Organisations
MIM Holdings : R&D, design, manufacture

CSIRO Division of Mineral Engineering : research, development
Key People
Frank Jorgensen : CSIRO scientist
John Floyd : CSIRO scientist
Jim Pritchard : smelting manager

Further Reading
'MIM to smelt copper for world's miners'
Bruce Hextall
The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 April 1992.

Xstrata Technology
Ausmelt Ltd

Tapping the copper from the Isasmelt process. Courtesy MIM Holdings Ltd.
Air and fuel are forced into the reactor together to stimulate combustion. Courtesy MIM Holdings Ltd.
ATSE Powerhouse Museum