From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

This is a good article as far as it goes but it or perhaps its parent extractive metallurgy is incomplete in that it only deals with metals that occur as sulfide ores, and not those that occur as oxides of carbonates. Peterkingiron 08:28, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

I have tried to improve the article to make it a little more general. However I think there are other metallurgical processes that ought to be listed in the 'See also' section. When that is done, perhpas the designation 'stub' can be removed. I would like to see an example of an exothermic reaction included. Perhaps there shoudl be mention of the double decomposition smelting of lead where lead sulphide and lead oxise are used to reduce each other. Peterkingiron 22:46, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Needs expansion[edit]

I'd like to do a major revision here along the following lines. In my view, pyrometallurgy is a branch of extractive metallurgy made up of five general types of thermal processes: Drying, Calcining, Roasting, Smelting, and Fire Refining. Drying is thermal removal of liquid moisture (not chemically bound) from an ore or concentrate. Calcining is thermal decomposition of chemical compounds such as hydrates and carbonates. Roasting is thermal gas-solid reactions, which includes oxidation, reduction, chlorination, sulfation, etc. Smelting involves thermal reactions in which at least one product is a molten phase. Finally, Fire Refining is high temperature refining processes. Maybe the last category (fire refining) is really a sub-set of smelting... Obviously there are a lot of avenues to explore, and this will take some effort, but my basic concept is to define in detail the five processes, and give some examples and references for each. Any thoughts? BSMet94 00:53, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Another point to be made is that there are some gray areas. For example, is Aluminum reduction Pyrometallurgy or Electrometallurgy? Short answer: it's both. BSMet94 00:58, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Agree: As far as I am concerned, please go ahead, but please be careful not to duplicate what appears in more detailed articles on some of these topics. It is better to provide a brief explanation here, with a cross-refernece to the detailed article, using the 'main' template.

The other issue is producing an article that is general enough to cover the processes for all metals. I am a historian mainly intersted in the iron industry and dabbling with that of other metals. I am not a metallurgist and thus not experienced in modern processes or knowledgeable about other metals. Peterkingiron 20:54, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the thoughts. I think you're right about keeping it general, and not duplicating information that is better covered in cross-referenced material, e.g. Calcination. I'm putting together an outline on paper, and gathering references to get this going. Thanks for the encouragement!BSMet94 15:44, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Good luck. When I started, several of the iron-related articles were duplicating or even contradicting each other, when it came to history. I have tried to rectify that. On the other hand, some of the articles on other base metals lack any serious consideration of historical methods of smelting. You must expect others (including me) to edit what you write, but that is how Wikipedia works. Peterkingiron 19:27, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Improved article[edit]

This article has recently been much improved, but further improvments to this and some of the articles to which it refers are probably still needed. Peterkingiron 19:26, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Good stuff! --njh 22:55, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Expanded the drying section. Making progress.BSMet94 05:07, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Environmental aspects[edit]

I'm going to take out the bit about the "smelter" in Tasmania making the place look like "another planet." NPOV needs to be maintained. Probably, we should add a section to the article on "Environmental aspects" of pyrometallurgy. Yes, in the old days (1950s), the arsenopyrite roasters up in Canada for instance discharges high-arsenic, high-SO2 gases to the atmosphere. Smelters did much the same. However, most of those plants no longer operate; some have been upgraded to comply with present-day environmental standards; and new plants are built with state-of-the-art environmental controls. In fact, the reason for some pyro processes falling by the wayside was the development of new processes that can meet enviro regs better. BSMet94 17:47, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

That's a mistake. We shouldn't rewrite history by not mentioning the past problems. Furthermore, the denuded and colourful are a big tourist drawcard. Finally, Wikipedia is as much about linking information as it is about describing information. I shall put it back again. --njh 21:42, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree with njh; the attraction of Queenstown is that it looks like a Dr Who set. Everything is dead. It's a case in point as to why we have mine reclamation laws. Josh Parris 23:35, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
It's better now (the bit about Tasmania), and I'll leave it for the time being. As I said, eventually we should have a whole section on the environmental aspects of pyrometallurgy. Firstly, it's not limited to SO2 emissions. You also have particulates, which can (and do) contain heavy metals. Lead smelters and refineries are a good example of this. Going further, pyrometallurgical processes are sometimes used to treat contaminated soils from decommissioned pyrometallurgical plants to recover valuable metals and put soil in an inert state. I'm not arguing to remove all references to the negative side of pyrometallurgy. And whatever Wikipedia is or isn't all about, this is a science article after all.BSMet94 23:40, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
And furthermore, you never know... we may wake up on Nerva Beacon someday and have to re-establish a means to extract useful metals. Hopefully Wikipedia (not to mention Sara Jane) will be there to help us.BSMet94 23:45, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

I expanded the roasting section and started an environmental section. (I need to remember to log on before editing... oh well). Still needs work on the calcining, smelting, and refining sections. BSMet94 17:42, 26 January 2007 (UTC)


As of now, I have removed the stub tag on this article. However, I'm confused by the discussion on this page, saying that its a good article when there's still a stub tag on it. Any explaination?Canadianshoper 17:09, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

You're right. Someone (me I suppose) should have removed the stub tag when all the recent revisions were made. Thanks! BSMet94 19:13, 15 March 2007 (UTC)