Copper is the most used metal that has a great role in boosting the growth of the economy. It has a wide range of applications; that’s why the demand for copper is high and will rise in the future. This soft and malleable metal is a major industrial metal. The demand for copper may reach 9.7 million tons by 2035 due to its rising applications in various fields.
Processes Involved In Copper Production
There are two mining methods to extract copper from the ore – the open pit and the underground method. Almost 90% of ores are mine with the open-pit method. The steps involved in copper extraction are mining, grinding, concentrating, roasting, smelting, anode casting, electrolytic refining, etc. Recycling copper is very beneficial for environmental protection.
Countries Involved In Copper Production
The leading copper-producing countries are Chile, China, Canada, US, Australia, DRC, Russia, Mexico, Peru, and Zambia. Various companies including Canadian copper mining companies have contributed to the global production of copper with some proportion. Here we will be discussing how copper production is done and how they contribute to worldwide copper exploration.
Mining in Europe and North America
The copper industry in North America and Europe has around 500 companies including Solaris Resources inc to meet the demands of people. These companies have provided 50k+ job opportunities. The continents’ main mines are present in Canada, Finland, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, and Spain.
There are three important sectors that are involved in copper production- Miners, Producers, and Semi-fabricators.
Role of miners– Miners extract copper from the ore then convert it into concentrates which have some proportion of copper, Sulfur, and Silicate. Around 916 kilotons of copper were mined in Europe in 2016.
Role of producer– Concentrates are sent for smelting and refining and finally converted into metals. Several by-products are also obtained during the process. Around 2.6 million tons of copper was refined in 2016, which was 12% of the total production of copper globally.
Role of Semi-fabricators– The conversion of metals into usable metal in the form of the products is done. The metal is turned into strips, rods, tubes, etc. In 2016, copper and its alloys had contributed 20% to the total global production of products.
Mining In Chile
Chile is the world’s leading copper producer and contributed an estimated 5.7 million metric tons of copper in 2020. The country is the largest producer and exporter of copper in the world. Codelco is one of its well-known companies. In 2019, the mining sector approximately contributed 10% to the GDP. Therefore, it is the key sector for the economy. Now, its current market share of copper production is 28%.
Copper minerals are found in several varieties. The most abundant ores are Chalcopyrite and Bornite, which constitute both copper sulfide and iron sulfide. Recycled copper has a great contribution to the total production of copper in the country. You will be amazed to know that Europe’s most demands are fulfilled by recycled copper.
During the process of obtaining valuable copper, several by-products are released. Sulfuric dioxide is one of the by-products which can be turned into Sulfuric Acid for further use as fertilizer, benefiting the farmers and food supply. This is how copper contributes in different ways to the country’s economy.