Pyrometallurgy Basic Principle
The basic premise of most pyrometallurgical operations is simple: high-temperature chemistry is employed to segregate valuable metals in one phase while rejecting gangue and impurities in another phase. In most instances, both phases are molten (such as the matte and slag in a conventional copper smelting operation). The gas phase may also be used to advantage, either as a means of separating valuable volatile constituents or for removing unwanted volatile impurities. These separation techniques form the basis of thermal smelting and refining operations.
Pyrometallurgy is a branch of extractive metallurgy. It consists of the thermal treatment of minerals and metallurgical ores and concentrates to bring about physical and chemical transformations in the materials to enable recovery of valuable metals. Pyrometallurgical treatment may produce saleable products such as pure metals, or intermediate compounds or alloys, suitable as feed for further processing. Examples of elements extracted by pyrometallurgical processes include the oxides of less reactive elements like Fe, Cu, Zn, Chromium, Tin, Manganese.
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