amalgamation process (əmăl´gəmā´shən), in particular, a method to extract gold and silver from ores. The ore is crushed and treated with mercury, in which the metal dissolves. The amalgam is heated and the mercury evaporates, leaving pure gold or silver. The process has been criticized as an environmental and occupational threat due to the extreme toxicity of mercury.
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Publication information: Article title: amalgamation process. Encyclopedia title: The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. © 2012 The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia © 2012, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. Used with the permission of Columbia University Press. All Rights Reserved. Publisher: The Columbia University Press. Place of publication: Not available. Publication year: 2013.
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