Copper has a significant value in today’s world due to the diversity of its uses. Copper occurs on the crust in the proportion of about 50 parts per million(ppm). Generally, copper is extracted as copper sulfide from open-pit mines. The method of exploration of copper varies from country to country, depending upon environmental regulations.
The mining process of copper involves the crushing of ore and then concentrating by froth flotation. The gangue is separated from valuable minerals. These concentrates are sold to smelters. Sulfide concentrates are smelted in a furnace to produce matte. Further, this matte is converted to produce anode copper. Electrolysis is done for its refining.
How Does Copper Benefit Us?
Copper production has an important role in sustaining the global economy. According to a report of the International Council of Mining and Metals, mining industries act as a major force for the economy. Read further to know the benefits of copper exploration.
- Employment – Canadian copper mining companies have provided several jobs to promote the standard of living. Copper is used in the productions of electronic goods and electricity distribution. There are many manufacturing, construction, and automation industries that transform copper into goods used by us. It has supported thousands of jobs which is critical for the economy. Copper has provided employment in various fields, including trading, installing, network developing, electrician, metallurgist, miner, geologist, architect, etc.
- Economy – The raw materials obtained from the copper mines like Solaris resources inc boosts the economy. During 2018, the produce was estimated at $82.2 billion in the US. Copper production has created several high-paying jobs that have stimulated economic growth. It has reduced the levels of poverty and raised life expectancy.
- Nutrition and food supply – Copper is an essential trace element for both plants and animals. The US Institute of Medicine had recommended dietary allowances for copper. Our body contains copper, about 1.4 to 2.1 mg per kg of body mass. Also, it prevents several health consequences. It has helped farmers to produce more and keep their produce fresh for a long time. Sulfuric acid obtained from mining processes is used for the manufacturing of fertilizer.
- Infrastructure – Infrastructure greatly depends upon copper. It’s a highly ductile metal that helps in the conduction of heat and electricity efficiently. It is a reliable metal for application in the field of industry and technology.
- Healthcare – Copper extracted from copper mines like Red Chris Mine is used in several medical devices. To prevent the spread of bacterial infection, copper is used in bed railing, and door handles. Copper alloys are used for several therapies.
The technique used for exploring copper from the mine varies depending upon the nature of the ore. Due to several environmental and economic reasons, the by-product obtained by the process of electrolysis is utilized. Sulfur dioxide is a by-product converted into sulfuric acid for further use.
Now, researchers have developed a new way for copper extraction that is separating metal from sulfide in a single step. This single-step process directly decomposes sulfide into copper and sulfur. Also, this process helps to reduce harmful air pollutants.