How did it start?
The origins of scientific research work in the surroundings of Bor date from the nineties of the XIX century, in the village Glogovica, where the Research Center for research the ore deposits in East Serbia was located, owned by the industrialist Georg Weifert. For this time, the Center was well equipped and possessed a chemical laboratory.
Exploration of the Bor deposit began in 1887, and the copper mine was opened in Bor in 1903. According to the historical records, the first chemical laboratory was built in 1905 on the slopes of the copper mine in Bor, which was used for testing the ore and geological samples.
In 1906, with construction of the Copper Smelter and a water-resistant jacket furnace, the laboratory was formed at the Smelter Plant, where the content of Cu, Au, Ag, O2, S, Fe, Pb, As, Sb, Ni, Co, Se, Te, and SiO2 was determined in anode copper. After starting the operation in the Flotation Plant in Bor in 1933, Cu, Au and Ag were determined in concentrate and tailings in laboratory, and since 1939, Cu, S and H2O in pyrite.
In 1938, with construction of the Tank House for copper, a determination of impurities in cathode copper started. Construction of all these capacities and intensive geological explorations of mineral reserves required the cost-effective chemical control, and a new unique laboratory was built in 1938, area of 1,200 m2, which is still used today.
Group for Geological Explorations
After the Second World War, in mid-1949, a Group for Geological Explorations was formed at the Directorate of Basin Bor, which as the Chemical Laboratory has worked since 1945 under the direct control of the General Director of the Mine and Smelter Bor. A few engineers and technicians dealt with the issues of mining and metallurgy development under the direct control of the General Director. At the end of 1950 and early 1951, a number of young professionals came to Bor. They, led by the experienced colleagues, were able to consider, in a short term, the prospects for development the Mine and Copper Smelter Plant. Based on their observations, the capacity of the Tank House was expanded in 1952, the Flotation Plant in 1956, ensuring the production of 38,000 to 40,000 t of cathode copper.
The First Phase
At the end of 1956 and early 1957, the need for reconstruction and modernization of smelting, mining and other capacities and construction the new ones, was determined under the name the First Phase of construction and reconstruction.
In order to achieve the established global trends in development of RTB Bor, it was necessary to intensify the research work in the field of mining, mineral processing, metallurgy and chemistry. At the end of 1956, the decision was made to form three bureaus for improvement of: mining, mineral processing, metallurgy and chemical production. This initiated an intensive scientific research work in Bor. The laboratories were formed, the research equipment was purchased, the staff structure became stronger, the library became stronger and general better conditions were created for the scientific research work in bureaus. Historically, the new stage of development of RTB Bor has started with this.
As the result of intensive geological explorations and integrated research development work, the long-term ore reserves were established; the directions of development the mining, flotation, metallurgical, chemical and other associated production and infrastructure were defined. The First Phase of construction and reconstruction was defined professionally and in detail. Decisions were made successively on construction and reconstruction in RTB Bor:
- New Copper Smelter,
- Reconstruction the Tank House capacity,
- Improvement of the anode slime treatment process,
- Sulphuric Acid Plant, and in
- Prahovo – Superphosphate and Synthetic Cryolite Plant and related facilities (the Bor Lake reservoir, railroad Bor – Vražogrnac, port Prahovo, tanks for sulphuric acid and other facilities).
A decision was made on development and formation the automatic data processing – computer data processing. At the same time, the construction of the mine and Flotation Plant of copper started in Majdanpek with related infrastructure and transport connectivity with Bor. All these facilities were completed and put into operation successively until June 1961.The new methods were introduced into the existing production; the existing processes and procedures were optimized and intensified. With these new and reconstructed capacities, RTB Bor became one of the largest copper producers in the world.
Having the realistic prospects in development, the raw materials, the need for intensive and extensive scientific research work was indicated. To accomplish this, the staff was needed, and this was solved in two ways:
- establishment the Faculty of Mining and Metallurgy in Bor in 1961 (now the Technical Faculty), and
- establishment the Copper Institute in early 1962. The Institute was firstly established by the existing Bureaus within the Directorate of RTB Bor.
Establishment of the Copper Institute
At the end of 1962, RTB Bor decided on establishment the Copper Institute as an independent organizational unit within RTB Bor, which includes the Chemical Laboratory.
In early 1963, the organizational structure of the Copper Institute was determined including five groups, as follows: Mining, Mineral Processing, Metallurgy, Chemical Technology, Chemical Laboratory and Common Services (Financial – Planning, Legal and Technical Library).
The experienced staff, engaged in the investment phase in Bor, Majdanpek and Prahovo, came to the Copper Institute in addition to the existing staff; the professors were engaged from the Faculty in Bor and other faculties in the country; young people were received and the modern scientific research equipment was acquired.
In the year of establishment, the Institute had about 1,800 m2 of space and 157 employees, out of which 20 with the university degree. At the beginning of 1965, the Laboratories of Metallurgy and Technology were accommodated in the adapted existing facilities at the present location – the “Third kilometer“, about 1,100 m2 of space. The joint laboratory of Faculty and Institute was formed for the Mineral Processing with about 300 m2 at the Faculty.
The Institute was first entered in the Register of Scientific Institutions of Yugoslavia in September 1963, and RTB Bor was the founder.
The Second Phase
As the result of integrated scientific research work, the Copper Institute soon in 1965 defined the new directions of RTB development through the so-called The Second Phase of RTB Bor construction. The objective of this program was to increase the production:
- copper from own mines to 100,000 t/year (mines and flotation plants in Bor and Majdanpek),
- metallurgical capacities to 135,000 t/year of cathode copper (Smelter Plant, Tank House and Anode Slime Treatment),
- Sulphuric Acid Plant to 300,000 t/year in Bor,
- Dip-forming Copper Wire Plant to 30,000 t /year in Bor,
- increasing the capacity and assortment of products in chemical industry – NPK Fertilizers Plant to 100,000 t/year, tripolyphosphate to 20,000 t/year and phosphoric acid to 100,000 t/year in Prahovo,
- NPK Fertilizers Plant to 120,000 t/year in Novi Sad, and
- Adequate infrastructure (the railroad Majdanpek – Bor, etc.).
The Electronic Computer Center was installed in the Institute for the needs of RTB Bor and scientific research work. Development the new product assortments was realized through the Precious Metals Processing Plant in Majdanpek. All these facilities were successively constructed from 1967 to 1972.
The Fifth Course
The strengthened group of researchers (in 1968 in the Institute) from the field of metal processing defined the directions of finalization the copper and copper-based products through the Fifth Course of development of RTB Bor. The results of this program were:
- Cable Mill Zaječar,
- Enamelled Copper Wire Plant in Bor,
- Copper and Copper Alloys Foundry in Bor,
- Electric Products Plant,
- Plastic and Metal Products Plant in Mosna – Donji Milanovac, and
- Copper Tube Plant in Majdanpek.
These facilities were constructed in the period from 1974 to 1979. During construction of the Second Phase and the Fifth Course, the research teams of the Copper Institute Bor were also strengthened with personnel and equipment in almost all fields of technical and natural sciences. Almost every year, some new development program is defined in RTB Bor:
- Copper Mine “Veliki Krivelj”,
- Nitrogen Chemical Complex “Zorka” Subotica,
- Casting Plant Žagubica,
- Cigarette Lighters Plant Bor,
- Tyre Valve Plant Bor,
- Polyester Foil Plant,
- Copper Powder Production Plant,
- Copper Sulphate Production Plant,
- Precious Metals Salts Plant,
- Manufacturing of Souvenirs, Decorative and Furniture Items in Soko Banja, etc.
These plants were constructed in the period from 1978 to 1986.
By completion the Second Phase of construction and the Fifth Course, the scientific research and development work for the needs of RTB Bor was primarily directed towards:
- increasing the geological reserves,
- keeping the realized level of mining production,
- introduction the new methods into the existing processes and production,
- new equipment,
- increasing the product assortments,
- intensification the existing technological procedures,
- reconstruction and increasing the capacities of individual plants or factories,
- development of own technologies,
- development of information systems, and
- development of own manufacturing the equipment and spare parts.
The Copper Institute Bor was simultaneously developed with RTB Bor. In establishing, the Institute dealt with research work and services from the fields of:
- mineral processing,
- chemical laboratory,
- chemical technology, and
- librarian activity.
During 1968 and 1969, the Institute expanded activity in the field of informatics – computer system, electrical engineering, automation and mechanical engineering, and in 1974, in the field of civil construction and architecture, and greater importance was given to the scientific-technical and professional information by formation the Information and Documentation Centre. So, in addition to the scientific research work, the Institute focused on designing in the fields of basic activities and complex mining, industrial, construction, transport and architectural facilities.
Geology Department was moved to the Institute
In 1976, all geological departments in RTB Bor were integrated and, in 1977, the Geology Department completely was moved to the Institute. By this, the Institute became one of the most complete scientific research organizations in the country.
In 1979, with the skilled research and design personnel in the Institute and experienced personnel from RTB Bor, the Institute expanded activity with complete engineering activities in the country and abroad. Since that time, the intensive work has also begun on: development and application the hardware and software in informatics and protection and improvement the living and working environment.
Expansion of Computer Science
Historical and political events in the former Yugoslavia had a very significant impact on development and application the information technologies both in the country and RTB Bor and in the Institute.
The automatic data processing functioned in this area for more than half a century. It started with the Mechanography (1959), followed by the Electronic Computer Center – ERC (1972), and in particular Information Systems (2000), and that has resulted in the Technology Sector that develops and markets all solutions in the field of IT business monitoring of companies and control of technological processes.
The impact of this whole is of general importance and transcends the local boundaries of the Institute and RTB Bor. A large number of experts in the field of informatics (over 150) who had been trained and prepared in the Institute became the leading experts in similar companies in the country and abroad. A fact should not be lost that the first Department of Informatics in Yugoslavia was opened at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Belgrade in 1972, so 13 years later. The accepted knowledge and gained experiences were used in development and implementation the own hardware and software solutions in IT support of RTB company business and many other companies and institutions. A significant contribution was made both in the area of financial-accounting affairs, and in the part of production monitoring and control of technological processes. Support, upgrade and extension of user applications are a permanent practice.
As the result of this approach and engagement, many original applications were created as well as own products applied in the following areas:
- Business information system,
- Technological process control,
- Hardware – software installation and support in operation,
- Education and training in the field of information technology.
In the previous period, four generations of computer systems were used: from a centralized processing over distributed systems to the personal computers and complex computer networks. Modern corporate information system is organized as a very complex network of small LAN segments including the spatially deployed locations.
Information systems and industrial informatics provide the necessary equipment of all required applications and human resources needed to meet the requirements in the field of business and technical informatics of all its users.
Integration the Marketing Activities
Considering the achieved level of development and functional performance of activities and working tasks, the Institute in 1998 integrated and unique organized the activities of marketing and development the new programs. In addition to the scientific research and development activities, designing, engineering and consulting activities for the needs of RTB Bor, the Copper Institute helped and contributed to the development of other enterprises and companies in the country and abroad.
Changing the Name and Re-state of Organization
The Directorate for Property of the Republic of Serbia and the Institute concluded the Agreement on establishing the share of state ownership in the assets, used by the Institute, on July 11, 2007. The Republic of Serbia has taken over the founding and managing rights in proportion to the share of the state capital of 100% of the assets used by the Institute.
The Mining and Metallurgy Institute Bor was established by the Decision of the Government of the Republic of Serbia of September 13, 2007 as the research development Institute. The Institute is organized as the scientific research institution that operates in accordance with the regulations governing the legal status of public services.
The Institute was accredited. as the research development Institute in the field of technical-technological sciences – metallurgy and mining to conduct the scientific research, by the Decision of the Board for accreditation of scientific research organization of the Ministry of Science of the Republic of Serbia of October 29, 2007.
In the whole period of development, the Institute was constantly strengthened with personnel, equipment and space, expanded the activities and since 2007 the Institute has become an organization that is fully qualified to deal with the most completely complex researches and engineering in the field of copper industry and related raw materials and products, from geological explorations to the complete exploitation, processing and finalization into products intended for industry and domestic consumption introducing the modern systems of control, monitoring, automation and complete information system from the lowest to the highest level.