According to physical properties and function nonferrous metals are divided into:
heavy metals (copper, lead, zinc, tin, nickel);
light metals (aluminum, titanium, magnesium);
minor metals (bismuth, cadmium, antimony, mercury);
alloying metals (tungsten, molybdenum, vanadium);
precious metals (gold, silver, platinum);
rare metals (gallium, germanium, indium, zirconium).
On the basis of this division they distinguish metallurgy of light metals and metallurgy of heavy metals.
There is characteristic feature of nonferrous metallurgy: high power consumption of raw materials in the course of their preparation for metallurgical conversion and processing. In this connection they distinguish fuel- and electric-capacious productions. High fuel-capacity is characteristic, for example, for production of nickel, alumina from nephelines, blister copper. Increased electric capacity is characteristic for production of aluminum, magnesium, calcium, titanium.
Due to the small demand of power production of heavy nonferrous metals coincides with areas of extraction of raw materials.
Getting of light metals requires a large amount of energy therefore the enterprises that smelt light metals are located near to the source of cheap energy.
There are many types of nonferrous metals in Russia. 70% of nonferrous ores are mined by open pit. Nonferrous metallurgy of Russia produces about 70 different types of metals.