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Smelting

From RitchieWiki

Mining Processes

Smelting is the process used to extract and separate desired minerals from other impurities found in mined ore. The type of smelting used depends on the nature of the ore and the type of mineral being removed. 

[edit] How it Works

Smelting involves the use of heat and a chemical reduction agent to transform the oxidation state of the ore in order to release the desired metals/minerals contained within. The minerals are heated to a very high temperature inside a blast furnace or smelter causing the metal to melt and produce two different liquids—a high-grade liquid metal mixture containing the desired mineral called a sulfide matte and a by-product of oxide slag.[1] During the melting process, the oxide slag floats to the top of the matte and is removed and recycled for other uses. The oxide slag contains the unwanted material and impurities. The matte or high-grade metal mixture is then sent to a converter that releases the metals. Copper, aluminum, iron, zinc, nickel are all minerals that go through a smelting process.

[edit] Types

Non-ferrous smelting – is used to refine copper, lead, and other similar types of metals. This type of smelting produces a highly ferrous slag containing iron, an undesired impurity.[2]

Ferrous smelting – is used to produce steel. This type of smelting produces a non-ferrous slag—all the iron is used in the smelting process.[3]

[edit] References

  1. The History and Evolution of Smelting: Now Outdated, a Newer Technology is Trumping Traditional Roasting Methods. BacTech Mining Corporation. 13-10-2009.
  2. What is slag? WiseGeek. 13-10-2009.
  3. What is slag? WiseGeek. 13-10-2009.