What are the Steps in Producing Zinc?

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Much progress has been made in the extraction of mined resources during the course of extraction civilization and up to modern processes. Mining machines that are heavily loaded, sturdy, and modular have improved the value and efficacy of our mining operations. As an outcome, waste and hazardous chemicals have been reduced in the energy sector.


Conventional blasting, hauling and drilling processes are used to extract zinc ores from deep mines, which must then be processed. Zinc sulphide (also known as sphalerite), zinc silicate (calamine), zinc carbonate (smithsonite), and manganese and iron compounds (franklinite) are all found in the ores. Eighty percent of zinc mining sites are below ground, eight percent are open pit, and the rest are a mix of both.

To extract the ore, it is smashed first and then powdered to provide for the best separation of the minerals. A zinc concentrate typically includes around 55% zinc, along with some copper, iron, and lead.

Zinc smelting

The most typical zinc concentrate, zinc sulphide, is transformed into refined zinc during the smelting process by extracting sphalerite using the froth flotation method. 

Froth Flotation Method –

Processing the zinc ore to a powder form, blending it with water, pine oil, and flotation chemicals, and then stirring the solution to “float” the zinc to the top is how this method works.

Zinc sulphide is also used to treat secondary (recycled) zinc compounds, such as zinc oxide. Recycled zinc accounts for about 30% of total zinc production.

The Pyrometallurgical Method and the Hydrometallurgical Method are two ways for smelting zinc. The first step is the same for both: roasting.

Roasting –

Roasting is the process of transforming zinc sulphide concentrates into an unrefined zinc oxide called “Zinc Calcine” by oxidising them at high temps. Multiple-hearth, fluidized-bed, and suspension roasters are the three different types of roasters that could be used for roasting. During the process, the following chemical reactions occur:

2 ZnS +302 → 2 ZnO +2 SO2

2 SO2 + O2 + 2 SO3 

Electrolysis process

Electrolysis is a fascinating process that takes about 22 hours to complete. Electrowinning, a specific form of electrolysis, is used to extract zinc from the purified zinc sulphate solution. Leaching, electrolysis, purification, and melting and casting are the four steps in the electrolysis process. 


This process is driven by the following chemical formula:

ZnO + SO3 → ZnSO4


The cementation technique is used in the purification process to filter the zinc far more. Copper, cadmium, cobalt, and nickel, which then would interact with the process of electrolysis, are removed using zinc dirt particles and steam.

Pure zinc is placed on aluminium plates using a lot of voltage. The plates containing pure zinc are lifted from the cells.

The zinc is stripped away by machines, and the vacant plates are restored to the cells, where the process takes place again.

Melting and Casting

Zinc is melted down and formed into ready for sale zinc cubes weighing between 25 and 2500 kg.

Aside from that, special zinc casting alloys are cast by combining a number of different alloying components. Many pyrometallurgical processes include reducing zinc oxide with carbon and then extracting metallic zinc from the resultant solution in a carbon monoxide setting.

The Final Word!

The produced zinc can be used in a variety of applications, including building, transportation, machine parts, networking, electronics, and basic goods.

Zinc is mostly used to preserve steel against corrosion around the world. One of the most eco-friendly ways to extend the lifespan of a steel material by nearly 12 times is to apply a thin coating of zinc.



December 6, 2021 |

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