Smelting

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Smelting is a unit process in pyrometallurgy. It is a melting or fusion process used to extract a metal, like iron, copper and other base metals, from its raw ores.

Smelting is done of the product obtained after partial roasting. Slag formers (sand) are used to remove impurities like iron, zinc etc. The melted sulfide phase obtained is called matte.

Smelter
Smelter

Smelting is normally carried out in a blast furnace. The metal ore, along with a reducing agent (such as carbon or coke) and a fluxing agent (such as limestone) is fed into the furnace. Compressed air is also passed through the charge. During the smelting process, the coke is oxidised to carbon monoxide which reduces the ore. The fluxing agent reacts with impurities and floats on top of the molten metal as slag.

Smelter
Smelter

Flash-smelting is a more recent process where copper sulfide concentrate is partly oxidised (roasted) and melted into a matte in one process step.

Smelter waste

Unwanted or undesired material generated during the smelting process. This includes:

Smelt reduction of copper oxides
Smelt reduction of copper oxides
Flash smelting of secondary copper sulfides
Flash smelting of secondary copper sulfides


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