Base metal

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  1. Any of the more common and more chemically active metals, e.g., lead, copper. AGI
  2. The principal metal of an alloy, e.g., the copper in brass. CF: noble metal
  3. In plural form, a classification of metals usually considered to be of low value and higher chemical activity when compared with the noble metals (gold, silver, platinum, etc.). This nonspecific term generally refers to the high-volume, low-value metals copper, lead, tin, and zinc.
  4. The metal base to which a coating or plating is applied.
  5. The chief constituent of a metal alloy; e.g., brass is a copper-base alloy.

Source: Dictionary of Mining, Mineral, and Related Terms

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