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Ore Processing, Recovery, and Smelting

Industrial gases for metal extraction and refining processes

Industrial gases are used in a wide range of applications for metal extraction and refining processes. Air Products' comprehensive range of gases, supply modes, and application technologies can help increase yield and productivity, while decreasing harmful fugitive emissions and reducing energy consumption in a variety of applications—from mining operations and beneficiation, to hydrometallurgical, pyrometallurgical and other refining processes, to downstream wastewater treatment.
Download Industrial Gases and Advanced Technologies for Primary Non-ferrous Metals Production brochure

Meeting Today’s Needs and Working Toward Future Solutions

Our team of industry and technology specialists can provide a wide range of engineering and consultation services to assist with your metal extraction and refining processes, including:

  • Technical and design expertise
  • Data acquisition and process monitoring
  • Process commissioning and optimization
  • Flow control and process equipment
  • Safety training

Here are some benefits you can realize from our offerings and expertise:

  • Reliable, economic gas supply
  • Lower gas consumption and cost through optimization
  • Improved safety
  • Increased productivity
  • Better yield and product quality


Froth Mixer
Nitrogen can be used in place of air in flotation cells to increase recovery rates.


hydrometallurgy tank
Oxygen can be used in a variety of hydrometallurgical operations including heap leaching, pressure leaching, and bio-oxidation to improve efficiency and increase leaching rates--which can help lower your costs, while increasing throughput.


abandoned mine
Inert gases can be used for a variety of uses in mining and refining operations. Nitrogen can be used to inert abandoned areas of mines in order to reduce the risk of explosion. Inert gas blanketing with argon or nitrogen can be used in many metal refining processes, serving as a barrier to oxidation and helping to increase metal yield, thereby lowering costs.


Molten metal
Oxygen can be used in a variety of pyrometallurgical operations including smelting, autoclaves, roasting, and sintering to increase reaction and heat transfer rates--enabling higher throughput and increasing yield, while reducing specific fuel consumption and exhaust gas volumes.


Swirling molten
Industrial gases can be used in a variety of refining applications.  Hydrogen, a reactive gas, can be used as an effective reducing agent for the separation of many metals from their oxides as well as in stirring applications to react with unwanted impurities. Nitrogen can be used to stir molten metals, assisting in the removal of unwanted gases and helping to achieve better temperature and chemistry homogeneity.

Mining Operations/Tire Inflation

Mining dump truck
Using nitrogen in place of air for tire inflation of large mining haulers can help to achieve consistent tire pressure and prevent auto ignition due to the high temperatures generated and thick treads of large industrial tires.  This can improve efficiency and fuel economy and extend tire life. Air Products can provide the nitrogen and associated equipment to facilitate the fast and effective filling of tires of all sizes.


Water splash
Carbon dioxide and ozone (from oxygen) can be used for effective wastewater treatment, depending on the chemistry of your effluent. Our engineers can advise you on the right equipment and solution for your needs.

“By engaging Air Products at an early stage in our Zambian [Kansanshi copper-gold mining] project, we were able to explore oxygen supply options and determine what we believed to be the best system for our specific process requirements. Based on their prior work in the copper industry, Air Products was able to propose an effective plant design based on its other operating plants, and also meet our critical project schedule.”
Zenon Wozniak, Director Projects, First Quantum Minerals

“Air Products is a reliable supplier of industrial gases and their product helps us maximize our operations. Their customer-focused approach and technical support were key in optimizing the oxygen system for our process. We look forward to continuing to work with Air Products in the future.”
Alain Thibault, Metallurgist, Osisko Mining


Air Products gases, typically provided in gaseous and liquid form, enable customers in a wide range of industries to improve their environmental performance, product quality, and productivity.


Argon, an inert gas, is commonly used in applications across metals production operations to improve quality, and increase efficiency and yield.


An inert gas for cryogenic, heat transfer, shielding, leak detection, analytical and lifting applications


Valued for its reactive and protective properties, and used by many industries such as electronics, foods, glass, chemicals, refining and more can benefit from its unique properties to improve quality, optimize performance and reduce costs.


Nitrogen is routinely used in applications across foundries, integrated and mini mills, specialty/stainless, and non-ferrous metals production operations.


Oxygen can improve combustion through increased heat transfer, higher flame temperatures, and reduced volume of fuel gases in metals production operations.

Working with you from the start…

When you begin your mining operations or metal extraction and refining process planning, remember to engage Air Products early. We can evaluate your process, explore supply options, and tailor gas-based solutions to help your process operate as efficiently as possible.

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