Do you know how Silver is mined? There is no doubt in this statement that Silver is relatively scarce. But you can never deny that it is the most plentiful and one of the least expensive precious metals. And you know what, Silver is very rarely found in its purest form called Native Silver. The largest silver nugget was discovered in Mexico, and its weight was 2,750 Pounds in Troy.

These days Silver comes from 3 primary resources:

  1. Silver Mining
  2. Silver as a by-product
  3. Silver recycled from used materials

Modern Day Silver Mining

You know what? Silver ores get found in small quantities, and a lot of material gets mined (even in tons) to extract a few ounces of Silver. 80% of Silver in the whole world gets produced as a by-product. And it is found in metals like Copper, Gold, Lead, Zinc, and Uranium. There are about 300 Open Pit and Underground Silver Mines in the whole world. 

Explosives and Blast

Miners pack the holes of the drilled rock with explosives and then blast them into pieces. These mines were ventilated before. The temperature usually reaches 113 degrees F. Once the ore gets blasted, the ore and waste rock are accumulated and transported to the surface for further processing. We highly recommend reading about Honey Badger Silver to learn it in detail. 

Sodium Cyanide and Zinc

So, many different methods are employed to extract Silver from the ore. If there is any ore that contains Silver and Gold, it gets treated with a Sodium Cyanide solution. And Sodium Cyanide dissolves both these metals. After that, powdered Zinc is added to the solution and, with the help of that, precious metals form a sludge. This sludge is collected and then refined further to separate both metals.

Cupellations by Chaldeans

In this process, crushed ore gets heated on a porous bed of bone ash. And it gets heated until it melts down. And as a result, all the impurities, including Lead, are absorbed into the bone ash, and finally, the molten Silver gets drawn off. That’s how this process works out and gives you Silver.

Froth Flotation Process

This process GOT discovered early in the 20th century. In this process, ore gets crushed and settled down in a bath. After that, air bubbles are getting blown through the mixture. It helps carry the Silver on top of the bath. And here, Silver starts forming the froth. After that, this froth gets skimmed and smelted to separate other metals from it. 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that there are various ways to extract Silver. One method includes explosives to blast the rock and get all the metals. After that, metals are getting separated to locate the Silver. Another technique involves Sodium Cyanide and Zinc. Firstly, Sodium Cyanide dissolves both Gold and Silver. And then Zinc powder gets added to the solution to make a sludge. The sludge is then getting further refined. Don’t forget to learn more about Honey Badger Silver to get in-depth knowledge about silver mining. 

According to another Cupellations method, the ore is heated on a porous bed of bone ash until it melts down. Impurities get absorbed in the ash, and molten Silver is gets drawn off. And according to the Froth Flotation process, Silver is settled down in a bath, and then bubbles are blown through the mixture. These bubbles carry Silver on top of the bath, where it makes froth, and then foam is skimmed.