Mercury Ore

Mercury Ore

 

any of the natural mineral formations containing mercury in concentrations such that the industrial use of the minerals is both technically and economically warranted. The most important mineral of the mercury ores is cinnabar, HgS, with a mercury content of 86.2 percent. Secondary minerals include metacinnabarite (β-sulfide of mercury), native mercury (Hg), livingstonite (HgSb4S7), corderoite (Hg3S2Cl2), and the mercury-containing sulfosalts of Cu, Sb, and As. Distinctions are made between high-grade mercury ores (approximately 1 percent Hg), medium-grade ores (0.2–0.3 percent Hg), low-grade ores (0.06–0.12 percent Hg), and very low-grade ores (0.02–0.06 percent Hg). Complex mercury ores contain Sb, Cu-Pb-Zn, W, Au-Ag, and the harmful admixture As.

The ore bodies are flat sheets, contact deposits, veins, pockets, and stockworks with a volume from several cubic meters to hundreds of thousands of cubic meters. Mercury ores are usually formed by low-temperature, dilute (3–5 grams per liter) hydrothermal solutions having the temperatures 250°–100°C, and, less often, by superheated gas-liquid emanations saturated with mercury vapor. In this regard, distinctions are made between hydrothermal, telethermal, and volcanic mercury ores.

Telethermal deposits have the greatest industrial importance and include conformable accumulations in dolomites, limestone, and quartziferous sandstone found under schistose rocks. These deposits are found in the Donbas, Northern Caucasus, Yakutia, and Chukchi National Okrug in the USSR and in Almadén in Spain. They also exist as ore shoots in zones of listvenitization (Middle Asia, Altai Krai, and Transcaucasia in the USSR and New Almaden in the USA) at the contact of ser-pentinites with slates. Volcanic deposits exist as mantlelike deposits in effusive and sedimentary rocks (Kamchatka in the USSR and Sulfur Bank in the USA). While volcanic deposits are worked by open-pit mining, the other types of deposits must be worked primarily in underground mines. Mercury is sublimated in rotary kilns and fluidized bed furnaces without prior concentration of the ores.

The overall reserves of mercury ores are estimated at 500,000 tons. The annual production in capitalist and developing countries was 7,000–8,000 tons in the period 1968–73, including 1,500–2,000 tons produced at Almadén in Spain and the Amiata mountain in Italy. Deposits in the USA, Canada, and Mexico yield from 500 to 1,000 tons annually, those in Turkey, Algeria, and Japan yield from 100 to 300, and the deposits in Peru, Chile, and Tunisia account for 10 to 100 tons per year.

REFERENCES

Saukov, A. A. Geokhimiia rtuti. Moscow, 1946.
Voprosy metallogenii rtuti. Moscow, 1968.
Mel’nikov, S. M. Metallurgiia rtuti. Moscow, 1971.
Saukov, A. A., N. Kh. Aidinian, and N. A. Ozerova. Ocherki geokhimii rtuti. Moscow, 1972.
Metallogeniia rtuti. Moscow, 1975.

V. P. FEDORCHUK

References in periodicals archive ?
The wharf had been formed from mercury ore dumped into the coastal bay by PQMI during its operations that stopped in the mid 1970s.
The EPA said the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine initially was mined for sulphur from 1856 to 1871, mined intermittently for mercury ore from 1873 to 1905, with open pit mining taking place there from 1915 to 1957.
The mercury ore deposit which is 1500 m long and 300-600 m wide, extends in the directions northwest and southeast, and has a depth of the ore-bearing zone at about 450 m.
The mercury ore deposit is classified as a monometal, as well as a monomineral, deposit and has the second largest concentration of mercury in the world.
April 1965: American Mercury's engineers stake out 30,000 tons of mercury ore and see five or six years of work ahead.
Krupp (1988) considers organic carbon-rich sediments, and in particular black shales, as having an order of magnitude higher mercury content than most other rock types that are frequently found in mercury ore districts.
More than 100,000 tons of mercury ore were dug from the mountains and transported to the minefields of the Sierra where miners poured the mercury over gold ore to dissolve the precious metal.
Mercury ore was mined from the top of Buckskin Mountain, and underground mining along the Bell Vein in the eastern portion of the project area yielded approximately 24,000 ounces (0.
Dicar was referring to the rehabilitation done by the government at the wharf, a land feature artificially formed from tons of mercury ore dumped at the bay by PQMI in the 1970s and which now hosts a community of over 300 households, including government-owned structures.
Currently, only a few small private mines are in operation, producing mercury ore and cinnabar crystals.
Mercury ore was mined at various times during the 1900's from both underground and surface workings located on the north side of the top of Buckskin Mountain.
Lourdes and Tagburos, with a combined population of more than 10,000, are suffering from varying degrees of mercury poisoning due to constant exposure to mine tailings and ingestion of marine products contaminated by poisonous mercury ore.