Huta Cynku “Miasteczko Śląskie” S.A. (HCM)

The plant is located on the territory of the Miasteczko Śląskie municipality in the Tarnowskie Gory region where the history of silver and lead mining dates back to the beginnings of the 12th century.

HCM is the only manufacturer of zinc and lead located outside of Asia operating the pyrometallurgical process known as the Imperial Smelting Process (ISP). This unique technology is used only in 7 smelters worldwide – in China, Japan and a single one in Europe – HCM.

The special nature of the technology enables the production of two main metals within one process, i.e. zinc and lead. Furthermore, the ISP technology brings tangible benefits for the environment, in particular it greatly increases the recycling rate for zinc, lead, cadmium and silver from oxide and waste material, as well as it significantly reduces the volume of zinc- and lead-bearing unprocessed waste generated by the ferrous and non-ferrous industries.

The ISP technology includes the following processes:

  • production of zinc and lead sinter;
  • reduction of the sinter in the shaft furnace producing the zinc and lead bullions
  • further processing of the zinc bullion in the Zinc Refinery to produce refined zinc and cadmium
  • further refining of the lead bullion in the Lead Refinery to produce refined lead;
  • capturing the silver content during the lead refining process to produce the Dore metal.

As a part of this smelting technique, also synthetic gypsum and slags are produced that find application in general construction and road construction industries.

The key feature of the plant is the fact that it virtually generates no hazardous waste. The entire feed load is processed in 99%. This allows HCM to use its own certified hazardous waste yard to a very little extent, which makes it unique both Europe- and World-wide.

HCM uses its own mechanical and chemical water treatment plant for process sewage, and a desulphurisation plant for off-gas treatment. Both plants are continuously monitored by HCM’s own dedicated laboratory. Moreover, the entire plant is under the supervision of the Provincial Environmental Protection Inspectorate.

The expansion of the Zinc Refinery in 2015, through the addition of three refining columns,  boosted the production capacity for SHG Zinc, enabling HCM to increase the share of this grade to close to 100 % of the total zinc output.All products manufactured by HCM meet the international standards, which is also confirmed by the listing of both its zinc (HCM.SHG.99995 brand) and lead (H20.POLSKA.MS brand) with the London Metal Exchange.

Automation of the manufacturing process is one of the HCM Management’s priorities. Computerised stations enable remote control and supervision of individual stages in the manufacturing of zinc, lead, cadmium and silver. That, in turn, allows the superintendents to monitor directly meeting the production targets.

As for work safety and health protection, HCM use up-to-date devices and personal protective equipment.

Depleted big-bags from raw materials are recycled internally by briquetting and disposing of in the Shaft Furnace.

HCM also invests in new technical solutions for the improvement of safety, such as the use of robots in the removal of hard zinc in the Zinc Refinery.

Over the past few years, HCM has changed significantly both in technical and technological terms. It is developing at an extremely dynamic pace, especially in the ecological sense – for the sake of the natural environment. This was already proven in 2017 by by the commissioning of the new water treatment plant. The installation neutralises all acidic waste waters and reduces the impurities content to meet the limits specified in the Integrated Permit which HCM complies with.

HCM has become a permanent element of the region of Miasteczko Śląskie. Its long history proves that it is possible to combine sustainable processing of zinc- and l ead- bearing secondary and waste materials  with environmental care at the highest standard.