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In nature, iron, copper, lead, nickel and other metals are found in impure states called ores, often oxidized and mixed in with silicates of other metals.
The water carries the slag in its slurry format to a large agitation tank, from where it is pumped along a piping system into a number of gravel based filter beds.
During the early 20th century, iron ore slag was also ground to a powder and used to make agate glass, also known as slag glass.
Ground granulated slag is often used in concrete in combination with Portland cement as part of a blended cement.
The filter beds then retain the slag granules, while the water drains away and is returned to the system.
When the filtering process is complete, the remaining slag granules, which now give the appearance of coarse beach sand, can be scooped out of the filter bed and transferred to the grinding facility where they are ground into particles that are finer than Portland cement.
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During the Bronze Age of the Mediterranean there were a vast number of differential metallurgical processes in use.