Primary Metals

Table of Contents  Industry Overview  Steel Making Industry  Ferrous & Non-Ferrous Foundries  Aluminum Smelting & Refining  
Copper Processing  Lead Processing  Zinc Processing   Glossary

1 Industry Overview

The primary metals industries include facilities that produce metal products from metal ore and / or scrap metal. Plants may refine metals, cast molten metal into desired shapes, or produce the inputs for the refining or casting process. Primary metals industries utilize both ferrous and non-ferrous metals and produce pure metal products or alloys in the form of end products or stock for use by other industries.

The primary metals industries included in this manual are covered by SIC 3300: Primary Metals. They include steel works, blast furnaces, and coke making; ferrous and non-ferrous foundry operations; and smelting and refining of common non-ferrous metals. Facilities may function as independent plants which sell metal products to other industries, or as part of a larger plant which produces metal pieces for use within a facility or company. Some facilities housed within larger
operations may be classified under the SIC code of the larger operation.

Pollution associated with primary metals industries depends largely on the type of operation. The type of facility, metal and non-metal inputs, processes, and equipment all factor into the pollution sources and prevention opportunities. As such, the primary metals industries in this document have been divided into Steel Making (Chapter 2), Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Foundry Operations (Chapter 3) and Non-Ferrous Metal Refining, including aluminum (Chapter 4), copper (Chapter 5), lead (Chapter 6) and zinc (Chatper 7). The processes, waste streams and pollution prevention operations are discussed independently for each sector. Overlapping processes and pollution prevention opportunities are noted.

After being refined and cast, metal pieces are usually coated to prevent corrosionor enhance surface properties. Metal coating, electroplating , or surface-finishing is occasionally performed at foundries or other primarym metal production plants. However, more often, it is performed at captive or job shops outside of primary metals facilities. Information about metal coating and surface finishing can be obtained in Pollution Prevention and the Coating Industry or Pollution Prevention and the Metal Finishing Industry manuals.