The result is a great destruction of the humus of the soil, and great leaching and washing, especially in the light loams of the hill country of the United States.
The ores, having been broken and ground, generally in tube mills, until they pass a 150 to 200-mesh sieve, are transferred to the leaching vats, which are constructed of wood, iron or masonry; steel vats, coated inside and out with pitch, of circular section and holding up to woo tons, have come into use.
The leaching is generally carried out with a strong, medium, and with a weak liquor, in the order given; sometimes there is a preliminary leaching with a weak liquor.
There can be no question that a deep soil is better for the cottonplant; but the expense of obtaining it, the risk of injuring the soil through leaching, and the danger of bringing poor soil to the surface, have led many planters to oppose this plan.
At Rio Tinto the ore is divided into three classes: (I) The poorest, containing an average of about I i% of copper, which is treated locally by leaching with water and liquor containing ferric sulphate, whereby the copper is dissolved out and afterwards precipitated by pig-iron, whilst the residue is exported as ordinary iron-pyrites.
If the burningup of humus and the leaching of the soil could be prevented, there is no reason whyia cotton soil should not produce good crops continuously for an indefinite time.
This method of extraction contrasts favourably in time with the leaching process, which is so slow that over io,000,000 tons of ore are always under treatment on the immense leaching floors of the company's works in Spain.
In leaching, the silver ore is subjected to the action of solvents, which dissolve the silver; from the solution the silver is precipitated and converted into a marketable product.
The ore, supposed to have been salt-roasted, is charged loosely into the leaching vat and treated with water (to which sulphuric acid or copper sulphate may have been added), to remove soluble salts, which might later on be precipitated with the silver (base-metal chlorides), or overcharge the solution (sodium chloride and sulphate), or interfere with the solvent power (sodium sulphate).