Metallic mercury has been known to man from at least 3500 B. P. The famous archaeologist, H. Schliemamm, discovered a small vessel full of mercury in a grave at Kurna, Egypt, dating back to 1600 to 1700 years B. C. Cinnabar, the primary mercury-bearing ore composed of mercuric sulfide, has probably been used as pigment since prehistoric times. The use of Hg in the mining industry to amalgamate and concentrate precious metals probably dates back to the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, who commercialized Hg from Almadén mines in Spain as earlier as 2700 B. P. Pliny, in his Natural History, provided the first detailed description of the amalgamation process as a common gold and silver mining technique at the beginning of the present era. This technology, however, had widespread use only by the Romans around the year 50 A. D. (Mellor 1952). Analyses of these descriptions, dating back nearly 2100 years, show distinct similarities with the procedures presently applied in many gold mining areas in the world.
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- The Use of Mercury Amalgamation in Gold and Silver Mining
Dr. Luiz D. de Lacerda
Professor Dr. Wim Salomons
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg