Copper

Energizing modern life

Copper has been in circulation for centuries. In our modern world, copper is still one of the most used and reused metals in a wide range of applications and many still undiscovered. Metso understands the importance of copper and the challenges with mining, processing and recovering of high quality ores. We want to help to energize the modern world and spark a better future.

Advanced technology

Significant technological leaps in our mining equipment

Global experience

Our experience in the copper industry spreads throughout the world

Century of learning and improvements

More than a century designing and manufacturing mining equipment for the copper industry

Forward-thinking innovation

Using and applying innovations to optimize operations today and tomorrow

Interested to know more about Metso in the copper industry? Download our brochure!

Lifecycle of Copper in Mining

Most of the time copper does not come out of the ground ready to charge your mobile phone or create reusable energy sources. Copper, like any other metal or mineral, has a lifecycle where the material goes through multiple processes to become it's final, usable result. Are you aware of what the lifecycle of copper in mining? Let's look more into the lifecycle of copper in mining and some challenges within the industry. 

Challenges

Today's copper industry is facing numerous challenges. Declining ore grades, resource nationalism, sustainability and stricter environmental regulations, increasing amount of generated mine waste and tailings, labor relations and there are others. The need for solutions from a trusted partner who understands these has never been more important to produce maximum results. 

Discovery

The inital phase of copper's lifecycle in mining is discovery. This includes exploration, extraction and transportation of the ores. Exploration is all about the pre-drilling and blasting process that goes into finding the best location to begin the mining.

Then moves into extraction of the ores by drilling and blasting. Transportation is removing the ores from the mining site to begin the next phase. Transportion is usually handled by feeders, conveyors and haul trucks to maximize the amount of material moved as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Recovery

Recovery is all about the processing of the copper ore through comminution, beneficiation and refining. There are two separate tracks that occur here and will take place in two separate processes where the ores are treated differently.

Oxide copper ores will go through crushing and screening, but then will be sent through the sequence of leaching, extraction (different form than the first extraction in discovery) and electrowinning. Meanwhile sulfide copper ores require crushing, screening, grinding, beneficiation (concentration) then smelting. Some equipment that is best used throughout recovery are primary gyratory and cone crushers, high pressure grinding mills, autogeneous mills, stirred mills, flotation cells, magnetic separators and others depending on the operation. Both ores will be involved in their own form of refining, but both copper ores will end up moving to the next stage of conversion.

Conversion

Conversion is the manufacturing period where the recovered copper is built into the end products. The end product is usually not 100% newly mined copper. With copper being indefinitely recyclable, copper products today are on average at least 35% recycled content. This helps with creating a more sustainable economy.

End use and developing sustainability

End use is where us, the consumer, comes into play. This will be our mobile phones, copper wiring, cars, building and construction applications and many, many more. If you are reading this you are likely using copper in some way. Sustainability is creating a circular economy where we can recycle copper once it has been used to the end. In fact, two-thirds of copper mined since 1900 is still in circulation today.

Want more information about the lifecycle of copper in mining? Check out our downloads below or talk to our Metso experts! 

Check out the lifecycle of copper and how it moves throughout our modern world.
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