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Characterisation of the substance

Substances produced during the production of copper are included in the scope of the Copper REACH consortium and commonly referenced as Copper intermediates.

The Copper intermediates, produced during the production and down-stream uses of copper are inorganic minerals, complex materials containing varying amounts of metals, metal compounds and metal minerals. The observed variations are related to the origin of the material (i.e. the source, for e.g. varying ore characteristics) and the processes used.

They are considered under REACH as UVCB substances. UVCB substances either cannot be uniquely specified with the IUPAC name of the constituents, as not all the constituents can be identified; or they may be generically specified but with a lack of specificity due to variability of the exact composition.

The main identifiers for the UVCB substances are related to the source of the substance and the process used. Due to the lack of differentiation between constituents and impurities, the terms “main constituents” and “impurities” should not be used for UVCB substances.


The copper production route has therefore been used to categorise these substances. Major processes and the related intermediate types of the copper production have been mapped (see also Chapter 2 of this CSR). In view to characterize each intermediate substance, the Reach Copper Consortium proceeded as follows:

- For each intermediate substance, the range in elemental compositions within and across all companies has been assessed.

- For each intermediate substance, detailed information on the different process conditions (if any) were evaluated in view of potential differences in resulting mineralogy (i.e. speciation). For each specific process type, a representative sample was selected and the metal species and /or mineralogies were determined (by means of XRD analysis –see Liipo et al, 2010, to be found in IUCLID Section 4.23 additional Information).The mineralogical pattern of such a sample that is representative of a particular process (source & conditions) will subsequently be the same for all materials produced according to the same process.

The protocols for sampling of Copper intermediates were developed by the REACH Copper Consortium in the course of April/May 2009. Standard ASTM E1833-07a, industry best practice for sampling as well as consideration on the specificity of major production processes were taken into account.

These samples were used to perform physico-chemical testings in accordance to REACH Annex VII (density range, particle size distribution, melting/boiling point, oxidation potential, solubility ranges) in addition to the mineralogical and thermogravimetric testings


Company-specific elemental concentration information was obtained in addition from all participating companies. These data were aggregated into so-called generic compositions.Therefore, Chapter 1.2 of this CSR lists generic compositions as defined across industry. Ranges were defined based on min and max of the typicals across industry, and the typical values mentioned are average of the typicals across industry. Companies were requested to provid in their REACH files in addition their Legal Entity specific composition(s), with their typicals falling within the ranges of the generic ones (into IUCLID section 1.2 only).

Applying to above outlined roadmap,the chemistry and speciation/mineralogy of the B2 Copper matte intermediate was assessed by Lippo et al, 2010 (see IUCLID section 4.23 Additional physico-chemical information). In this assessment, several samples of matte, corresponding to different types of materials, were assessed:

·      Type I: Flash furnace

·      Type II: Electric furnace

·      Type III: Blasting furnace

·      Type IV: white matte


The chemistry and mineralogical data demonstrated for all tested matte, although the mineralogical composition of the UVCB may vary slightly, a common mineralogical pattern exists (eg mainly sulphides) (see IUCLID/CSR composition section 1.2 and 4.23). This confirms the sameness of the substances with EC#266-967-8 and 244-842-9, although arising from slightly different technologies. 


In the following document, the substance may be referenced with different names. Most commonly used synonyms are: “matte, copper ”, “ white matte” and “copper matte (B2)” (ie with B2 referring to a REACH Copper Consortium own naming and numbering of substances in its scope). The various namings reflect the fact that the wording “copper matte” was most commonly used by metallurgist to describe the molten material. Matte remains molten through its whole life cycle (with the exception of routine process sampling). Matte can however be cooled down to ambient temperature and solidified for the purpose of transporting over longer distance (eg import into Europe). In these cases, registrants are requested to inform on the granulometry of their substances as placed on the market.


To reflect the above findings, and with a view to harmonize naming accros industry, the REACH Copper Consortium asks ECHA to consider reviewing the fomer EC description of “Product of smelting roaster calcines concentrates or cement copper with flux in reverberatory or electric furnaces. Composed primarily of copper and copper, iron and lead sulfides with minor sulfides of other metals.” And replace it by the more appropriate while less manufacturing technology dependant “Substance resulting from metallurgic processing of primary and secondary sources. The matte is obtained from copper ore/concentrate and recycled materials. It is composed primarily of copper and copper, iron and lead sulfides with minor sulfides of other metals”.

The UVCB substance is a complex metal containing material.

Intermediate B2 - Copper Matte


“Substance resulting from metallurgic processing of primary sources. The matte is obtained from copper ore/concentrate. It is composed primarily of copper and copper, iron and lead sulfides with minor sulfides of other metals”


EC names

(or recognized name)

Substances covered

EC number / EINECS No.


Matte, copper*

Copper matte


6711 91 5

White matte, copper**

White matte

923 -586 -8

not available


At room temperature, the substance is a solid.

The majority of the available data on physical and chemical properties of the UVCB is taken from the report Liippo, et al, 2010 –a comprehensive study performed on the UVCB to characterize it (physico-chemical and mineralogical properties) in view of the upcoming REACH registrations of copper intermediates by the REACH Copper Consortium.


In particular, a comprehensive chemical and mineralogical characterization of representative samples was performed (and reported under IUCLID 4.23). The study from Liippo et al (Outotec Lab) furthermore includes thermo gravimetric /differential scanning calorimetric (TG/DSC) measurements (under Air flux and Nitrogen atmosphere) that allowed determining melting, oxidation and related thermal stability properties of the UVCB.

The Outotec study included: Chemical assays (Inductively coupled argon plasma optic emission spectrometer,  sulfur and carbon analyzes, Measurement of amount of magnetic material), Granulometry, density and specific surface measurements, determination of melting and oxidation temperatures (Thermogravimetry / differential scanning calorimetry), Water solubility tests, Mineralogical characterization (X-ray Diffraction, Optical Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy) and Mineral Quantification. Based on the tests results, the study furthermore includes expert judgements addressing flammable, self-ignition, explosive and oxidising properties of the materials.


The selection and collection of the representative samples was made based on expert knowledge and according to standardized sampling protocols developed by the REACH Copper Consortium, an industry joint-venture regrouping major manufacturing and importing companies of the UVCB substance. Details on the sampling approach and the representative samples are reported as supporting information in IUCLID 1.4 and 4.1.


For the majority of the physical chemical properties, a range of values are provided to cover the range of representative samples. The relevant physico-chemical properties of the materials (as well as IUCLID sections) are summarised below:

Matte B2 Matte, Flash furnace type (composite from grinded material) 09TT02788  
Matte B2 Matte, Electric furnace type (composite from grinded material) 09TT02787  
matte B2 matte, balst furnace type (composite from grinded material) 10TT00139    
White Metal B2 matte, white matte-type (site 2C) (representative) 09TT07029 09TT07306 09TA03019
White Metal B2 matte, white matte-type (site 2D) 09TT07719 +1mm: 09TT08115

Table 1: Summary results

ECI Comments / Remarks IUCLID Section Matte, Flash furnace type (composite from grinded material) Matte, Electric furnace type (composite from grinded material) matte, balst furnace type (composite from grinded material) matte, white matte-type (site 2C) (representative) matte, white matte-type (site 2D)
Lab code   09TT02788 09TT02787 10TT00139 09TT07029 09TT07719
State / Colour 4.1 Solid, Bluish black Solid, Bluish black Solid, Bluish black Solid, Bluish black Solid, Bluish black
Relative Density g/m3 4.4 5.28 5.76 n.a 5.59 5.74
Specific surface area 4.5 n.d. 0.14 0.05 n.d. 0.03
Granulometry, D50, µm 4.5 4317 >5000 832 1235 1156
Water solubility 4.8 poor* poor* poor* poor* poor*
Melting temperature,°C 4.2 780 650 n.d. 600 700
Oxidation Temperature,°C 4.15 200 450 n.d. 529 489
Assays / Chemistry 4.23 See table See table See table See table See table
Mineralogy 4.23 See table See table See table See table See table
Flammability 4.13 Not flamable Not flammable Not flammable Not flammable Not flammable
Self-ignition  4.12 Not self igniting Not self-igniting Not self igniting Not self igniting Not self igniting
Explosive properties 4.14 Not explosive Not explosive Not explosive Not explosive Not explosive
Oxidizing properties 4.15 Non- oxidsing Non oxidising None oxidsing None oxising None oxidising
Relative Density, OECD 109; specific surface area, BET method; water solubility,OECD 105; melting and oxidation temperature TG/DSC analysis*poor in preliminary test, with exception at high loading and shaking over long period