Minerals and metals are almost everywhere and make our lives better in a unique way. Among the most useful industrial metals list, copper occupies a considerable rank and value. Copper was the first metal to be worked on by humans. It was about 4,000 BCE when humans began to recognize its versatility in usage and began casting copper to shape it in molds. Even now, almost every industry somehow relies on copper resources.
Properties of Copper
You will be amazed to know that copper is the third most consumed industrial metal after iron and aluminum. The metal is well known and utilized due to its highly desirable physical and chemical properties.
Copper Mining Processes
With the evolution of time, copper mining methods are also developed and improved. Nowadays the copper mining methods have become a compact, cost-effective and efficient process. The development of modern-day equipment has made it possible to reduce waste and decrease chemical exposure during the different phases of production. You should know how various companies like Glencore and Three Valley Copper (TVC.V) are emphasizing the expansion of copper exploration and production. If you analyze the Three Valley Copper stock, you will get to know more about its future activities.
Copper is abundant and found in natural ore deposits around the world. The element occurs in both sedimentary and igneous rocks. Every ton of rock on the outer 10km of earth’s crust might contain 33g of copper. What’s the next story? Read further to know how copper is extracted from the ore and converted into pure copper.
The removal of ore is done with either an open-pit or underground mining method. Open-pit mining is a surface mining technique in which the mineral is extracted through an open pit or borrow. On the other hand, underground mining involves drilling a section of ore at the very bottom of the deposit and then blasting to make the roof collapse.
- Crushing and Grinding
The ore obtained from the mines contains about 2% of copper, so it is sent to cylindrical ball mills for crushing.
In this step, the ore is enriched with the help of the froth flotation method. The gangue deposits in the bottom and is ultimately removed.
Roasting is the process of heating a sulfide ore to a high temperature of about 500°C and 700°C in the presence of air. Calcine is obtained in the process.
The hot calcine is melted with siliceous flux in a smelting furnace to produce a copper matte. Some of the impurities are removed while forming matte.
Air is blown throughout the matte, which forms blisters as the gas is trapped in the solid.
It is the process of refining the copper by electrolysis. The copper is 99.99% purified after this step.
Copper is a profitable and valuable metal that has sustained our modern lifestyle. It comes with a remarkable combination of properties. We need to emphasize sustainable usage of copper as the supply of copper is limited from the ground.