Section 1: Introduction

Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 3
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1985
HISTORIACAL INTRODUCTION Mineral processing has three principle branches, to quote Taggart, "Ore Dressing, which comprises the methods of separation of solids in inorganic crude by means which do not affect substantial chemical change; Extractive Metallurgy, which utilizes chemical reactions for separations of constituents from solids in inorganic crude; and, Fuel Technology, which employs both physical and chemical methods for separating and rearrangement of liquid gaseous and solid components in crude oil and natural gas, tar sands, shale oil, or coal." The scope of this handbook covers the first two classifications, that is, "ore dressing" and "extractive metallurgy," which have been combined in one term: "mineral processing." For a brief history of the development of mineral processing, one could well refer to the Introduction, Sec. I of the Handbook of Mineral Dressing by Taggart, Froth Flotation, Principles of Mineral Dressing by Gaudin, and the original Richard's Ore Dressing, volume No. 1, first published in 1903-1905. In these references and the references given in them a coverage of the history of "ore dressing" can be found and studied at the reader's leisure. For the history of extractive metallurgy as well as ore dressing, the bibliography in General References, taken from a History of Ex┬Čtractive Metallurgy by F. Habashi, will give a good background for those who are interested in more detail on the history of metallurgy in general. Mineral processing covers a very wide field as is illustrated by the topics discussed in Part II of this handbook and dates back to the early history of man which started with the production and use of native minerals such as gold, silver, copper, mercury, and meteoric iron which were washed or picked from deposits on the surface of the earth and worked because of their malleability. Later, melting was discovered and then it was possible to cast objects of these metals, excluding mercury. The discovery of a method for reducing the metal┬Člic oxide probably was developed from melting fragments of oxides or roasted sulfides with charcoal, so that the native metal could be produced in simple blast furnaces such as are used today in rural parts of Spain, China, and elsewhere. Eventually, it was learned that iron could be readily worked when hot, which resulted in its replacing bronze for tools, weapons, and cutlery. Carbon dating and correlation with the Brittle Cone pine has
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