ISSN (print) 1995-2732
ISSN (online) 2412-9003


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Problem Statement (Relevance): For over 300 years, the Ural region has been the metallurgical center of Russia, and over such a long period has accumulated a lot of man-made waste (i.e. slag). Understanding the material composition of slag poses an important problem, because before slags can be disposed of it is necessary to know their mineral composition. Many slags can potentially be used as ores suitable for further processing; some slags are man-made refractories, etc. At the same time, slags produced by copper smelters heavily affect the environment because they always contain sulphides, which, being exposed atmospheric waters, can easily decompose into sulfuric acid and heavy metals. Objectives: To understand the material (mineral) composition of the black slags of Karabash Copper Smelter that were produced and stored back in the Soviet period. Methods Applied: The chemical composition of the rock-forming and ore minerals was analysed with the help of a JSM-6390LV Scanning Electron Microscope by Jeol equipped with an INCA Energy 450 X-Max 80 system by Oxford Instruments (Institute of Geology and Geochemistry, the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg). Polished petrographic thin sections cut from the black slag were used for analysis. Originality: The study of the material composition of the slags was carried out from the point of view of classical mineralogy on the basis of the modern compulsary nomenclature of the International Mineralogical Association. Findings: The authors have undertaken quite a detailed study of the mineralogy of the Karabash Copper Smelter black slags. It has been established that the slags are composed of a pigeonite-olivine aggregate, a significant amount of glass and rarely impregnated chromites, wustites and various sulphide phases. They are the products of the Soviet cop-per smelting industry, i.e. they were produced in a shaft furnace as a result of partial pyritic process. The temperature at which these slags had formed was determined by the eutectic (simultaneous) crystallization of wustite and fayalite and it was around 1,170°C. Practical Relevance: The obtained data indicate a drastic difference between the black slags of Karabash Copper Smelter from the Soviet period versus the slags produced by the plant today. As the studied slags contain sulphides and chromites, they are acceptable for further processing.


Pigeonite, olivine, chromite, sulphides, mineralogy, slags, Karabash Copper Smelter.

Yury V. Erokhin – Cand.Sci. (Geology & Mineralogy), Lead Researcher

Institute of Geology and Geochemistry, Ural Branch of RAS, Yekaterinburg, Russia. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Anatoly V. Zakharov – Research Fellow

Institute of Geology and Geochemistry, Ural Branch of RAS, Yekaterinburg, Russia. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lyubov V. Leonova – Cand.Sci. (Geology & Mineralogy), Senior Researcher

Institute of Geology and Geochemistry, Ural Branch of RAS, Yekaterinburg, Russia. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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