How Is Lead Made?

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Lead is produced by extracting lead ore from the ground, filtering it to remove impurities, melting the ore and refining it into bars and products.

Manufacturing lead involves several steps to ensure the purity of the product. First, the ore is mined from the ground using dynamite and brought to the surface with heavy machinery. The material is shipped from the mine to a concentration mill, where it is ground into particles less than 0.1 millimeters thick. The ground ore is then thrown into a large tank known as a flotation cell. An computer and X-ray monitor the tank, detecting the amount of metal present and calculating the right amount of chemicals to add to the tank. These chemicals bond to the lead ore and bring it to the surface while waste rock sinks. The flotation cell is drained through a filter, removing 90 percent of water from the lead concentrate. This material is then blasted by hot air and thrown into a furnace, which removes more impurities. Afterward, the lead is put into another special furnace which brings impurities to the top. These are skimmed off, leaving 99.9 percent pure molten lead. This lead is then cast into large blocks and sent off to be manufactured into other products.