The main processing steps of the Base Metals Operations are the blast furnace, the lead refinery and the special metals plant. The blast furnace reduces the oxidized lead slag from the smelter together with high lead containing third party raw materials and transforms them into impure lead bullion, nickel speiss, copper matte and depleted slag.
The impure lead bullion, collecting most of the non-precious metals, is further treated in the lead refinery. Besides pure lead, the process generates special metals residues. These are, together with the main side-streams of the Precious Metals Operations, further refined into pure metals and metal salts in our special metals refinery to produce high quality indium, selenium, tellurium and antimonate. Some intermediates are tolled out to dedicated companies to produce tin and bismuth.
After leaching the nickel out of the nickel speiss and turning it into nickel sulfate, the remaining precious metals residue is treated at the precious metals refinery.
The copper matte is returned to the smelter.
The depleted blast furnace slag is physically calibrated for use in the concrete industry or used as dyke fortification substance.
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