Smelting is the general term for getting a metal from its natural ore. Gold is an exception, because it is usually found as a pure metal. Other metals, like iron, copper, zinc, and silver, need to be got from their ore.
The process of smelting always involves heating the ore, and may also use a reducing agent like coke or charcoal. Most ores are oxides, sulfides or carbonates. This process removes the nonmetal part, leaving behind the metal. Ores are not pure, so a flux is added, to carry away the impurities. Limestone is the usual flux for this purpose. It removes the impurities as slag.
References[change | change source]
- "Stone Pages Archaeo News: Ancient metal workshop found in Serbia". stonepages.com. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
- "201006274431 | Belovode site in Serbia may have hosted first copper makers". archaeologydaily.com. Retrieved 26 August 2015.