When copper ore is processed, the coarse material that remains after processing is stamp sand.
The coarse material that remains after processing the ore in a stamping plant is stamping sand. Traditionally, it is considered waste and discarded. In later years, as material processing methods improved, several projects were launched to reclaim stamp sand deposits for new uses.
During the early years of metal production, stamp sand was usually deposited near the stamp factory. Most facilities were built on the banks of rivers and lakes so they could use water as steam power. Sometimes there would be so much sand poured into the water that it would create new lumps of land.
Stamping sand is often used in place of sand in place of road salt.
One of the largest seal sand deposits is from copper processing in Michigan. It is located in a region called Copper County. Stamping plants produced so much material that the sand was used for other purposes, such as covering icy roads instead of salt.
There has been some concern that seal sand deposits could pose a risk to the environment. This is because some of the traces of heavy metals in the sand may contain dangerous elements such as arsenic. The level of risk depends on the concentration of metals and the content. Not all deposits are necessarily dangerous.
Still, many dump sites have been contained so the seal sand can be cleaned up. After the sand is removed, it is usually replaced with clean earth so the land can be used for other purposes. If this is not done, occupants of businesses and homes built on the deposits are likely to be at risk.
Stamp sand has also been claimed by many parties who wish to make further use of the material. This has become increasingly common as new methods have been developed to further process the sand. For example, sand from Michigan was used to create shingles. This is a particularly useful application because copper fights moss growth and is a key element of reclaimed sand.
There are several benefits to using sand from old deposits. In addition to being a source of material for other purposes, as it is recycled, it requires less production. Using sand reduces the need to extract other natural resources. It is also beneficial for communities where deposits are located, as sand piles tend to be unsightly.
A stamp mill extracts valuable metallic elements from rocks by first stamping them. This is what creates stamp sand. The rest of the material is physically or mechanically treated so that the metal can be extracted.