The Manufacturing Process of Lead & Mining

    In the manufacturing process of lead the first step is to retrieve the lead bearing ore by means of underground mining. Heavy machinery is needed for this job in order to be able to drill the rock from the deep tunnels and it is also blasted with dynamite so the ore shatters into pieces. The ore is then shovelled into trucks or loaders and taken over the shaft. The ore is then dumped down the shaft and once there it is elevated to the surface. The next step involves the concentration of the ore which is done once the ore has been taken out of the mine. It is then treated at what is known as a concentrating mill. Basically this consists of removing the waste rock from the lead. The ore first needs to be crushed into little pieces and it is ground at the mill and it is ground down to particles the size of 0.1 millimetres or under, therefore it is very fine. The leading ore, which is galena or more commonly known as sulphide or sulphur, makes up a good quantity of the mineral.

    The flotation process then needs to take place and this consists of collecting the ore that has sulphur and that in addition has the valuable metal. To begin with, the well crushed ore is diluted with water and is then poured into a tank that is known as a flotation cell. The ground ore and water mixture is more commonly known as slurry. Chemicals are then placed into the tank in the slurry and the tank then shakes the mixture around. The chemical does the job of attracting the sulphide particles and then the air is gurgled through the mixture and this makes the sulphide particles to form a greasy foam on the top of the tank. The waste rock, also known as gangue goes down to the bottom of the tank. The process of flotation is checked with x ray analyzers. There is a floatation monitor in a control room that checks the content of the metal of the slurry with the x ray analysis. With the help of a computer, the monitor might regulate the amount of the chemical that has been added in order to better the recovery of the sought after metal. Additional metals are also included in the flotation cell so the minerals are able to concentrate. If the metal needs to be aggregated, lime or alum is added to it and this is also useful to make the particles larger in size. In order to help the minerals float up to the surface, xanthate is added to the slurry. When the flotation process is concluded, the lead should have become separated from the rock and any other minerals as well.