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what is the use of limestone in the process of smelting iron ore

what is the use of limestone in the process of smelting iron ore

Limestone is used as a flux to separate the gangue from the molten iron ore the accumulated slag and the molten iron being tapped from two tapholes at the bottom of the furnace The slag goes to a disposal area and the molten iron is directed into molds known as pigs where it solidifies to pig iron and is transferred to the next stage of processing

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