by goldbullion on 03/03/2012 - 01:18 pm |
Those who choose to invest in gold are often faced with the possibility of sending their gold dust, coins, or scrap gold to a smelter. A smelter does more than just melt the gold into a bar. Gold smelting is the process by which impurities are removed from the gold. This is accomplished by using pressure, heat, and certain chemicals. Once the process is complete, the smelter is left with a remarkably pure material.
The first step of the smelting process involves processing the raw ore. The gold material is pulverized into fine particles. These particles are then placed into a furnace that has reached a temperature above gold’s melting point. This burns off many of the impurities found in gold but not all.
The second step involves the introduction of chemicals to separate the pure gold from other minerals and metals. The chemicals that are typically used are potassium cyanide and mercury. These two chemicals cause the melted gold to coagulate and form pure nuggets.
Once the gold ore and scrap gold have been refined, the gold is placed back into the furnace to be melted one more time. This pure gold is melted then poured into a mold to form ingots. Ingots are essentially gold bars and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This pure gold can be used to make a variety of electrical components, jewelry or it can simply be used as a store of value.
Gold smelting is not a complicated process, but it does require specialized equipment. Would be gold investors should be aware of the process before they purchase raw ore. Raw ore is cheaper than pure, smelted gold because it contains impurities. When purchasing gold ore, investors are also purchasing the worthless material that clings to gold. If purchasing gold as an investment, it is a better option to purchase already smelted gold.