How Silver Is Mined

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How Silver Is Mined
How Silver Is Mined

Video: How Silver Is Mined

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Video: How Silver is mined 2023, January

Silver is a noble metal known to mankind since ancient times. At various times, silver was considered either the second most valuable metal after gold, or the most valuable metal. To date, several different ways of obtaining it have been discovered.

How silver is mined
How silver is mined


Step 1

People have been mining silver since time immemorial. Syria is considered to be the supposed "homeland" of silver, that is, the first place where the precious metal began to be mined. Ancient Egyptian silver jewelry dating back to the pre-dynastic period is of Syrian origin, from there precious metals were brought to Egypt. Silver in those days was more valuable than gold.

Step 2

In ancient times, silver mining technologies were radically different from modern ones. Precious metals were extracted from the placers by washing the sand on special shields. These shields were covered with sheared animal skins, simple ladles and trays served as auxiliary tools. To make gold from ores, the rock was heated to cracking, after which it was hammered in mortars, ground in millstones and washed.

Step 3

Since native silver is much less common in nature than gold, it was discovered much later. For a time it was valued more than the yellow metal.

Step 4

Most of the silver is obtained from the smelting and refining of copper and lead. As for silver ores, the noble metal is extracted from them in two ways: cyanidation and amalgamation.

Step 5

Amalgamation has been known since time immemorial. This is a method in which silver (or gold) is obtained by dissolving in mercury. When wetted with mercury, silver particles form an amalgam. The mercury is vaporized and the remaining silver is melted into ingots. Today this method is not in demand, since it does not allow obtaining absolutely pure metal.

Step 6

Cyanidation is the most popular method for extracting silver, discovered in the 19th century by the Russian scientist P.R. Bagration. Although this method was developed back in the 40s, it was introduced only in 1897 in the Urals. Cyanidation is carried out as follows. Ores that need to be cleaned from impurities of other minerals and waste rocks are placed in a solution of alkali metal cyanides. At the end of the procedure, the silver obtained in this way is sent to refineries for further purification.

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