Silver Refining

The oldest method of silver refining was heating the mineral to the point of liquefying. Most impurities will float as silver is heavier and can easily be separated.

Today, the most commonly employed method is digestion of the silver mineral; with nitric acid wherein the silver is dissolved, the remaining gold is washed, and the silver is precipitated from the washings as silver chloride, by salt addition. In silver and gold mines, leaching with cyanide is another method of silver refining. In copper and zinc/lead mines the mineral is crushed, then mixed with mercury; the silver sinks to the bottom, all else will float.

Refined silver can be sold in many different forms: bars, powder, granules and wire.




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