Production in KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. is a fully integrated production process, in which the end product of one phase is the starting material (half-finished product) used in the next stage. Ore extraction in KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. is performed by three mining divisions: Lubin, Rudna and Polkowice-Sieroszowice; the Concentrators Division, which prepares concentrate for the smelters, and the Tailings Division, responsible for storing and managing the tailings generated by the production process. The organisational structure of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. includes three metallurgical plants: the Legnica smelter and refinery, the Głogów smelter and refinery complex and the Cedynia copper wire rod plant.
The technology of mining the copper ore in all 3 mines is based on the room-and-pillar system with the use of blasting for ore extraction. The mined ore is transported to storage areas near the shafts, from where it is sent by skip hoisting shafts to the surface. After the ore is unloaded at the shaft top, it is transported by conveyor belts or railway to the processing plants located at each of the three mines.
As a result of enrichment by flotation, a concentrate is obtained which is then dried and transported to the smelting plants – Legnica, Głogów and Głogów II.
Flotation waste is transported by pipeline to the Żelazny Most tailings storage facility. This storage site also functions as a reservoir and dosing tank for excess circulating water.
Within the scope of the Purchasing Policy, KGHM Polska Miedź worked with 1 500 suppliers in 2014. The total estimated value of tender procedures carried out in accordance with the Purchasing Policy amounts to PLN 3.2 billion in 2014. KGHM cooperates with all types of suppliers: contractors, agents and wholesalers. In most cases these suppliers are from Poland. In several cases foreign suppliers, mainly from European Union countries, are used. In addition, within the Group, KGHM uses the services of a Logistics Operator – specialized companies performing supply functions.
The copper smelters/refineries produce electrolytic copper from concentrates produced from our own mined ore as well as from purchased copper-bearing material (concentrates, copper scrap and blister copper). Legnica and Głogów I use shaft furnaces, and Głogów II uses smelting technology in a flash furnace, based on a modified concession of the Finnish company Outokumpu. The final product takes the form of 99.99 per cent pure electrolytic copper cathodes. Nearly half of the copper is transported to the Cedynia rolling mill located in Orsk, where copper wire rod, oxygen-free copper wire, and oxygen-free copper wire containing silver are produced. The anode slime produced by the electrorefining process at all three smelters contains precious metals. This anode slime then becomes input material in the production of refined silver, gold, palladium-platinum concentrate, and selenium. Meanwhile, de-copperised electrolyte is used for the production of raw nickel sulphate. Dusts and slimes from the dedusting of technological exhaust gases are used in the production of refined lead.
Oxygen-free copper rod and wire, and oxygen-free silver-bearing copper wire production processes are implemented at Cedynia rolling mill. They combine state of the art technological solutions of the world’s leading companies with automation and continuous quality control of the product. Feedstock for the rod and oxygen-free copper wire production processes, i.e. Contirod and Upcast, respectively, are copper cathodes. They are mainly supplied by Głogów and the Legnica copper smelters and rafineriesof KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.
Contirod process - In the first phase of the Contirod production process the cathodes are fed to an Asarco melting furnace, which melts 45 tonnes of copper per hour at 1 120°C. The molten copper is then transported through a gutter system to a settling furnace with ca. 20 tonnes capacity. The liquid copper, dispensed into a Hazelett casting machine, crystallizes into a strand of 60 x 122 mm intersection. The copper strand, cast at the rate of 12 m/min and at 850°C, is then subjected to plastic forming in 16 roll stands. The final product is 8 mm diameter wire rod, wound into coils weighing 5 tonness and protected with a synthetic wax layer against secondary oxidation.
Upcast process - In the Upcast line, consisting of a cathode loading system, melting furnace, settling furnace, casting machine with crystallizers for vertical casting, and a coiler, oxygen-free copper wire is manufactured.
The Company’s main products are electrolytic copper cathodes and processed products. Copper cathodes with a minimum copper content of 99.99 per cent meet the highest quality requirements and are registered as grade „A” on the London Metal Exchange (LME), under three brands: HMG-S, HMG-B and HML, as well as on the Futures Exchange in Shanghai. The main customers of cathodes are manufacturers of semi-finished copper products such as wire rods, wires, sheets, and copper alloys. Processed products include:
- copper wire rod (for the cable, electrical, and mechanical engineering industries),
- oxygen-free copper wire and oxygen-free copper wire containing silver (the cable industry, manufacturers of trolleys, electric motors and generators),
- copper billets (the construction and electrical industries).
99.99% pure silver is produced in the form of bars (ingots) with a weight of approx. 1000 oz t (approx. 32.15 kg) and granulate. Silver in the form of bars, registered under the KGHM HG brand, possesses Good Delivery certificates, issued by the London Bullion Market Association and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, and a certificate of registration on the NYMEX New York Stock Exchange.
The main recipients of granulate and bar silver are financial institutions. KGHM-produced silver is used as an investment metal, but it is also used in many other sectors, such as jewellery, the electronics industry, the electrotechnology industry, the photovoltaic power industry, numismatics, the photography industry, medicine and tableware production.
Gold in the form of 99.99 percent pure bars is used in the jewellery industry, banks, and electronics industry.