Copper Mining and Processing: Everything You Need to Know


It is well known that copper processing is not easy because it is a complicated procedure. This process begins with mining, and then the result is sheets of 99.9% pure copper. Interestingly, these pure sheets of copper are also called cathodes.

Cathodes are the primary building block used to create the everyday essentials that we use in our daily lives made of copper. These cathodes also include the copper wire in our electricity products, and telecommunication is also not possible without copper, which is why it holds a lot of importance in our lives.

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Processing of Oxide Ore

Oxide ores are processed using hydrometallurgy. It is important to note that only a water-based solution can be used to extract the copper from the copper oxide. If you want to extract the copper oxide, you will have to purify it as well, and all of it will be done at an ordinary temperature.

It is done in three simple steps. The three simple steps include heap leaching, solvent extraction, and electrowinning. It is not a super easy step because many complicated procedures are involved when you further get into these.

Processing of Sulfide Ore

In the next step, the sulfide ore has to be processed, and it is another complicated step during the mining and processing of copper.

This process involves extracting and purifying the metal, and it is done by applying an extreme amount of heat. A very high temperature is used, and pure copper is extracted from the sulfide ore. It is done in four basic steps, and they involve the following:

  • Froth flotation
  • Thickening
  • Smelting
  • Electrolysis


Recycling Copper

This is the last step in the copper production procedure when it is not super simple. You not only need to process it, but recycling is also an essential step for the well-being of our planet and the future generations which are going to come.

Sustainable practices are trending worldwide, and that is why you need to participate in them for a healthy planet and recycle all the copper and use it once again for different purposes. The Global situation is pretty bad right now, and the demand and supply chain for copper is not stable because the demand keeps on increasing. We came across the Warintza project with great knowledge in this regard.

It is essential to re-melt and repurify copper to make different components and products. According to research, it has been found that if copper is recycled correctly, then it is going to supply at least 50% of the copper that is required for the uses of industry.

In 2010 more than 700000 metric tons of copper were recycled and proved to be very beneficial in the long run. It is said that it was able to generate a revenue of 6 billion dollars which is an insane amount just from recycling.