Silver has had many applications in the past, its use in jewelry for millenniums to its use in powering the current new tech innovations and the green energy transition. The metal, which has the greatest electrical conductivity in comparison to all other metals, is also used in 5G devices, circuit boards, electric vehicles, electrical contacts and solar panels, among other devices.
For all its uses and applications, the full process of extracting the mineral isn’t well known. We discuss this extraction and refining process of this metal, which is growing in demand, below.
Silver, like most metals, is found in the earth’s crust and is mainly mined through the use of explosives and heavy machinery. The metal is primarily mined through underground shaft mining and open-pit mining. The former mining method is best for mining high-grade silver ore that isn’t near the surface while the latter method is mainly used to extract large amounts of lower grade silver ore that’s near the earth surface.
Both mining methods use explosives to break huge pieces of ore into pieces that can easily be transported to crushing facilities. It is important to note that the metal’s method of extraction is dependent on the nature of the ore body and other factors, including infrastructure and location. In comparison to underground mines, open-pit mining is usually seen as the safer option.
After the mineral has been extracted, it is crushed into small chunks, which are then ground into a fine powder. This fine powder is used in the separation process. There are two distinct methods of silver separation: the tank leaching and Merill-Crowe process or the flotation process. They both involve mixing the ore powder with water to form a slurry.
When the former process is used, only cyanide is added to the slurry, as it allows the silver to dissolve in the solution. However, in the latter process, various chemicals are added to the slurry to create a lead water and silver repellent.
Once the metal’s ore has been separated from the waste rock, it must also be extracted from other metals through the Parkes process or electrolytic refining, depending on whether the metal is zinc, lead or copper.
From the above, one can see that silver’s production involves a lot of processes and with its demand set to see a more than 10% year-over-year increase, more sustainable and highly efficient ways to extract the metal from the ground will be needed. That challenge is already being addressed by forward-looking precious and base metals firms, including Asia Broadband Inc. (OTC: AABB), whose hallmark of continuous improvement touches every aspect of their operations.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Asia Broadband Inc. (OTC: AABB) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/AABB
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