The present is to discuss some of the current silver-treatment plants and also reviews briefly some of the older practices in important silver-mining areas since closed down. The greater part of the world’s production of silver is derived from the refining of the base metals, particularly lead ores, and complex ores of lead, copper, antimony, and zinc. Most of these ores are concentrated by flotation methods, and the concentrates smelted.
There are silver ores, however, where the base-metal content is too low to justify the above conventional form of treatment, and cyanidation offers the most economic recovery method.
The previous pages have been devoted to the treatment of gold and silver ores in which the recovery of silver, because of the relatively small amount present, is not ordinarily of economic importance. There are, however, certain mining areas where the recovery of the high silver values is or has been the principal metallurgical problem.
Table 91 gives some of the more important cyanidation and flotation data obtained in laboratory tests on relatively pure samples of silver minerals.
The ores of the Cobalt area were remarkable for their high content of silver and for the complex assemblage of minerals found in the veins and enclosing ….Read more