Since the earliest known production of cast lead beads, which were found in the Çatal Höyük site in Anatolia (Turkey), and dated from about 6500 BC, the lead smelting industry has been creating the by-product of slag. Effectively with no value; it has generally been disposed of in ‘land fill’ sites and other waste ‘dumps’ across the world; or, in some instances just leaving it to be washed away by the rain..!
What is ‘slag’, how is it created, and more importantly, what can we do about ‘solving’ the challenging issues created by this ‘waste’ product …?
Every smelter faces this challenge at some point of its operation and often for many the cost (both financial and environmental) of slag disposal is one of the three major concerns in operating their facility.
This session is intended to stimulate a debate within our industry, by utilising the combined knowledge of specialists; to better understand the characteristics and chemistry of slag, in order to hopefully develop a path forward the industry in unison will follow to solve our problem. It may be a new process technology that will eradicate the production of this unwanted material, or a new product or use; but we must ensure an environmentally sound management of our future lead smelting processes.
We would also like to also focus on ‘improved stewardship’ of slag from current smelting processes and the remedial treatment and recovery of lead from existing ‘slag dumps’; but importantly, the subject is open to the floor to debate, drive and own.