Iron Miners
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 Post subject: Question about mining iron ore
PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:06 pm
Posts: 10
Location: Carmel NY
New here and I dont understand about mining iron ,yes you pull it out of the ground ,as a rock with iron content in it. Then railroad it too a foundry which does what with it .I ask this because i live on a hill that has alot of ledge rock which has alot of rusty iron in it once cracked open with sledge hammer it will hold a magnet, pretty neat .just wondering, (I live a few miles from sunkin mine and magnetic mine (may it rest in peace)
thanks Dave

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:33 pm
Posts: 3088
Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
Well there really is a lot to the production of Iron. We probably should put a good article on the site on this, but I will summarize some of the basic processes used in iron production in the old days, but it in a nut shell.

Generally Iron Ore, Magnetite in the case of the mines in your area would be extracted out of the mines. The ore would need to be separated from waste rock before reaching the next stage. Many of the mines had issues with sulfur or other impurities mixed in with the magnetite and the ore would be roasted in ore roasters usually located near the mine. The roasted ore (if roasting was required) would than be shipped via wagon, canal, or train to furnaces which would continue to refine the iron to make whats called pig iron. The pig iron which is of high carbon content is brittle. It generally would have little use in this form other than that it would be transported again for its next stage of production.

Some of the pig iron would be sent to finery or finery forge for the production of wrought iron. Many times in the form of bars, wrought iron would generally be used for the creation of tools, chains, rods, or material made from a pure form of iron.

A foundry generally would use pig iron to make cast iron parts and materials. Cast iron has a higher carbon content than wrought iron and is somewhat brittle. As a result, material made from cast iron would not suitable for forging. The final products made from cast iron generally would be made from molds, many time in sand. The molten ore would be poured into a cast and then the cast would be allowed to cool. The final product would be cleaned up and eventually assembled. While many items are made from steel today, much of the old machinery, weapons, canons, bullets, were all made from cast iron.

I know I missed a lot here, but these are some of the basic processes in the old days.

Miner Greg


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