How is mercury mined? © iStock

How is mercury mined?

Liquid mercury is a fluid at room temperature, so extracting it from the earth can seem a challenge.

Asked by: Keith Fawcett, Lutterworth

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Like other metals, mercury is extracted from ores – one of the main varieties being cinnabar. It is found mostly in China, Spain and California. Droplets of liquid mercury can actually be found within the ore, though it is usually extracted through heating. Mercury vapour then forms in a condensation column from which the liquid is collected when it cools.


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