Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X
SYNOPSIS In 2002 the commissioning of an ilmenite smelter on the North Coast of South Africa was extended by three months due to the failure and subsequent replacement of the magnesia-based refractory lining. The lining failed due to the hydration of magnesia caused by an unexpected source of water. The incident resulted in significant financial losses and a prolonged insurance claim which was settled in 2009. As magnesia-based refractories are used extensively in both ferrous and non-ferrous applications, the authors of the paper want to share the experience gained from this incident with others. The paper reviews the literature available on furnace start-up practices and explains the hydration of magnesia using available sources. The incident is studied in more detail, both technically and economically, and the costs incurred are quantified in terms of the cost of the original lining. The paper concludes with lessons learned and recommendations made for future work. The intention of the paper is to stimulate open debate regarding best practices in preheating of furnaces lined primarily with magnesia.
Keywords : Commissioning; hydration; start-up; magnesia.