The Sometra Company History

SC SOMETRA SA COPSA MICA is a company specialized in non-ferrous metallurgy, from production process are obtained electrolytic lead (ingots), D'ore alloy, zinc oxides (Waelz oxides - powder) and clinker Waelz (Waelz slag - granulated).
Construction work started on August 1939, the location and the opportunity have been linked to a number of economic factors. Between 1929 - 1930 in the mining basin from Baia Mare were introduced the first flotation installations of complex non-ferrous ores, being obtained lead concentrates, gold-bearing pyrite concentrates, zinc concentrates and copper concentrates. With the exception of zinc concentrates, at that time in Romania existed the metallurgical processing of non-ferrous concentrates. Starting from 1934 zinc concentrates were exported to Poland, where was an important processing center.
First furnaces for obtaining Zn have been finalized on November 1940 using as raw material the "zinc agglomerate" delivered by Chemical - Metallurgical Plant "Phoenix" from Baia Mare which had the facilities for roasting and agglomerating these concentrates. The location of Sometra in Copsa Mica, at a considerable distance from the location of the base of raw mateial, was influenced by the existence in that area of very cheap methan gas and of a reserve of Zn concentrates in the basin of Deva from Apuseni Mountains.
Construction work of Sometra was started by "National Society of Mining Exploitation" therefore the name of "Sonemin". At that time the plant was managed by a specialist in zinc metallurgy from Belgium. At putting into operation "Sonemin" had:
  - three furnaces for zinc distilation;
  - an installation producing melting pots, retorts and condensers from refractory materials and also plastic material for gaskets;
  - technical - administrative buildings as: administrative building, laboratory, workshops, warehouses for materials, finished goods and raw material, refractory soil and lavatory for 150 amployees.
After the first two years, when the extraction and processing of ores have seen a significant rise, ensuring a higher volume of production of zinc concentrates, has been also started the development of the zinc metallurgical plant from Copsa Mica, which was and remained the only zinc metallurgical plant from Romania.
The purpose of the zinc metallurgical plant it was not only to increase the production but also:
 - obtainig the zinc agglomerate in order not to depend on other plants for roasting and agglomerating;
 - increasing the efficiency of extracting the zinc from zinc concentrates;
 - improvement of produced zinc;
 - increasing the types of goods.
To achieve these purposes have been built the following installations in cronological order:
 - distillation columns no. 5 and 6 in 1950;
 - distillation columns no. 7 and 8 in 1952;
 - on 1952 was started the construction of a pilot station for zinc electrolysis with a capacity of 2.000 ampers which operated until 1958;
 - sinter plant I in March 1955;
 - distillation columns no. 9, 10 and 11 in 1955;
 - Waelz installation no. 1 in 1955.
 - installation of cadmium extraction in 1956;
 - sulfuric acid plant in 1957;
 - sinter plant 2 and Waelz installation no. 2;
 - New-Jersey rectification installation of zinc in 1959.
Increasing the base of raw material required a technology with high productivity enabling the recovery of all metals from mining concentrates with a high yield.
During 1961-1965 were started the negotiations with ISP, an English company, for an installation to process simultaneously zinc and lead concentrates. In the development plan was foreseen the construction of an under pressure sinter plant for recovering the sulfur in an sulfuric acid installation by contact process, with a production capacity of 100.000 t/year and a furnace for extracting zinc and lead. These installations were put into operation on winter of 1966 and reached the designed parameters in a short period of time.
To process the semifinished goods in order to obtain the finished goods, on 1968 was put into operation an electrolytic lead refining plant. Simultaneously are recovered the dispersible metals (Sb, Bi) and precious metals (Au, Ag) in a installation for processing of anodic sludge, obtaining an alloy.

Concomitent with the increasing of zinc production was built the second installation of thermic rectification of zinc, therefore the production of high quality zinc has doubled.
  To improve the quality of cadmium, on 1968 was built an installation of thermic refining of cadmim, put out of operation on 1990.
  On 1969 was put into operation a new installation for production of zinc sulfate with a capacity of 8.000 t/year, put out of operation on 1993.
Due to the increasing of production of installation for processing the mining concentrates was increased the utilities suppky with the construction of:
 - industrial water dam;
 - potable water plant;
 - softened water plant;
 - treatment plant for industrial water of aprox 1.000 m3/h, water containing high quantities of Zn, Pb, Cd, acid, etc;
 - plant for neutralization the acid water resulted from the two sulfuric acid plants;
 - un laborator central inzestrat cu aparatura moderna;
 - o sectie AMC;
 - modern laboratory;
 - defrosting tunnel of mining concentrates during cold periods.
  On 1982 the refining capacity of lead has doubled by putting into operation of a new electrolysis plant, (Electrolysis II).
  Also on 1982 was put into operation a recovery and production plant of metallic antimony, sodium antimonate and antimony sulfide.
On 1970 due to high request on domestic market, was put into operation a new plant for producing the sulfuric acid using pyrite as raw material, and was put out of operation on 1990 and included in demolition plan.
Starting with 1984, S.C. SOMETRA S.A. has doubled the production capacity of Zn and Pb by putting into operation of a new line of simultaneous extraction of Zn and Pb from mining concentrates, using Imperial Smelting Process technology: ISP Sinter Plant II, ISP Furnace Plant and Decoppering Plant II.
After 1990 due to economical and pollution reasons, were put out of operation Sinter Plant II and Furnace Plant II, installations for producing the sulfuric acid (1-3 and 2-4), installations for producing cadmium, zinc sulfate, Waelz installations. A part of them were included in a controlled demolition and ecologization process, which is continued until now. Waelz kiln 1 was demolished after 2000, Waelz kiln 2 remained in conservation.
On 1998 the company has been privatized, beeing purchased by Mytilineos Holdings S.A. Greece.
 From 2006, the activity of S.C. SOMETRA S.A. was regulated by the Integrated Environmental Authorization no. SB 31/12.06.2006, revised in 06.04.2011, with a Plan of Action in stages until 2012 which includes all investment works regarding environmental protection, which have been fully accomplished, with major financial effort and have been obtained the foreseen results.
Due to global economic crisis and raw material crisis, starting with 27.01.2009, the productive technological installation have been put out of operation and included in a planned conservation process. Starting on 01.06.2010 the production was resumed at Lead Electrolysis Plant, but with a greatly reduced capacity and production, with the sole purpose the processing (recycling) of wastes and by-products containing heavy metals from industrial site and/or resulted from operating works of industrial dump, works regulated by the Environmental Agreement no. 10/10.11.2010 issued by Environmental Protection Agency Sibiu.
For a maximum valorification of wastes containing heavy metals, on 2012 have been started the repair and upgrade of Waelz kiln 2, and on June 2014 was put into operating, regulated by the revision on 14.04.2014 of Integrated Environmental Authorization no. SB135/03.06.2013.
For the near future, the activity is focused on the recovery of valuable components from wastes resulted from operating works of industrial dump. Therefore S.C. Sometra S.A. obtained an Environmental Permit for “Increasing the processing capacity of Waelz technology of by-products and wastes containing zinc and lead from industrial site of S.C. SOMETRA S.A., in two stages, on 2015 - 2017”. The project is for increasing the processing capacity of the existing Waelz kiln by building another two Waelz kilns and annexes, in two stages during 2015 - 2017.
Regarding environmental protection, the project ensures a rapid decrease of the industrial waste impact over the environment, and in the same time leads to saving of natural raw material. Also, the project ensures the valorification of by-products and wastes in ferrous metallurgy, without generating other types of wastes.
From economical point of view, the project provides new jobs and ensures increased contributions to local and state budgets, S.C. SOMETRA S.A. being one of the fiew main companies in Copsa Mica which supports the community.