- Smelting gold is the ability to extract the gold from the ore it is combined with. After smelting the gold is around 90 % pure but not acceptable for the market because it still contains other minerals like silver, copper, aluminum or iron.
- Most important part of the gold mining process because if done improperly, gold will remain in the ore and profits will be lost. All profits from gold are settled by purity and weight so the more impure your product the less it is worth and the more gold you lose, the less you will net in the end.
- Large companies normally smelt gold on site to cut down on costs but cannot refine gold themselves.
- Smelting gold is accomplished by using high pressure, heat and various chemicals to breakdown the ore and melt the gold to separate it from the impurities.
- The gold must be heated to an excess of 1046 degrees Celsius or 2150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gold ore before melting process
Burning off impurities
- Smelting gold is a very dangerous process. Many of the operations still use liquid mercury to separate the gold from other medals.
- Mercury is a very toxic and powerful substance which can lead to long term illnesses if handled in the wrong way.
- Disposing of medals used in this process can be detrimental to the surrounding environment if disposed of improperly. This is a major problem in small mining operations where they smelt on site or in improper factories.
- Once the smelting process is over, the gold is poured into bars for transport to the next process. This is the easiest way for transportation because all the gold is uniform and can be stacked. The bars are either poured into 10lbs or 20lbs bars.
- This is the most common image people have when they think of gold