Silver bullion is an incredible investment. This bullion isn’t the same as the chicken bouillon cubes you use in soup. In this case, “bullion” refers to a highly concentrated form of precious metal. However, they aren’t so dissimilar; both derive from the French word for “boiling.” A chicken-flavoured bouillon cube is boiled to make broth. Silver bullion is formed by boiling silver, but how exactly does silver get from a pile of rocks to a boiling point? Let’s dig a little deeper into the silver mining process in Canada.
Mining in Canada
Most silver these days is excavated in North and South America. Canada is among the world’s top silver producers, generating over 1,000 tons each year. The provinces of British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec are home to many of the country’s silver mines. The Royal Canadian Mint obtains its silver from many dependable sources, including Canadian mines. Colonial Acres is proud to be an RCM-registered bullion dealer.
Testing the Rock
To find precious metals, miners need to know where to look. Samples are handy when searching for areas ripe for mining. Cylindrical rock samples are collected to determine the presence of any valuable metals within. Workers smash and grind the sample, then put it into small pots. These pots are placed into a furnace and heated. Once heated, any silver or gold will bind to lead inside the pot. While precious metals stick to the lead, any other rock material will separate. Another scouting tool in a geologist’s arsenal is Niton gun technology. Geologists point a Niton gun scanner at the rock to identify and quantify precious metals.
Once an area is deemed fruitful, it’s time to dig! Miners dig tunnels deep underground, often as deep as the waterline. Deep in the earth, the miners drill holes into the rock walls. Explosives are placed inside of these holes and detonated. The resulting blasts shatter the large rocks into pieces. Construction vehicles bring the stone, or ore, to the surface in large chunks. A machine crushes the ore to prepare it for separation.
Separating the Silver
Before separation, the ore is just a big pile of rocks. A machine shakes those unrecognizable chunks through a wide screen to reveal finer silver particles. These smaller silver pieces are then crushed further into a powder-like substance. The silver is separated even more using various methods, such as flotation. During flotation, workers mix the fine silver powder with chemicals and water. The chemicals cause silver, and other precious metals, to float. While the silver floats to the top, non-valuable materials sink to the bottom. Workers dry the remaining silver, which results in a very concentrated metal.
Another standard separation method is leaching. Workers mix the fine silver powder with chemicals in a large tank. These chemicals cause the silver to separate from the remaining ore. The silver is then pressed through filters and dried. After that, it’s heated in an oven to remove even more ore waste. This heating process turns the leftover silver into a molten liquid. Workers carefully pour the liquid into bar moulds and skim off one final bit of ore waste. Finally, the silver is in its purest form! Refineries then transform these bars into collectible silver Canadian coins and bullion.
Many fascinating steps make up the silver mining process. Rock is crushed and sorted to reveal precious metals in their purest form. Colonial Acres is a registered bullion DNA dealer with the Royal Canadian Mint. Learn more here about mint bars, their purity ratings and anti-counterfeiting technologies that protect your investment. At Colonial Acres Coins, we offer clients a variety of options to invest in silver bullion. Click to shop Bullion products here.