Copper Mining Methods

Talking about historical records, you will find numerous copper artifacts that are beautifully crafted and will catch your attention for a second. Ancient people used copper alloys to make plenty of jewelry, including toe rings. In Israel, the researchers found massive copper mines from the 10th century B.C. About ten thousand years old copper beads were excavated in northern Iraq, which was made from native metal or nuggets. Copper comes with a long page of history about which is interesting to know.

Largest Producer of Copper

The extraction process of copper isn’t that hard, but minable deposits are found rarely. Way back from the 1200s, the copper mine at Falun was a great source of wealth and prosperity. Currently, Chile is the world’s leading producer of copper, which will produce about 5.7 million metric tons of copper in 2020. Codelco, which is a Chilean copper mining company, had the highest output, with the production of 1.73 million metric tons in 2020. In the same year, Peru occupied the second rank with copper production of 2.2 million metric tons. The list is followed by China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the United States. 

How Is Copper Extracted?

The pure copper metal is obtained from multistage processes which begin from the mining process. Most of the copper occurs in sedimentary and igneous rock. The mining activities end when sheets of 99.99% pure copper called cathodes are obtained. Companies like Three Valley Copper are focused on producing 99.99% pure copper from its mineral reserves. You can go for the Three Valley Copper stock analysis to know about the key statistics and fundamentals. 

Mining Methods

Commonly, copper is obtained from two types of ore, including copper oxide and copper sulfide, which undergo hydrometallurgy and pyrometallurgy, respectively. Copper oxides are comparatively more abundant than sulfide ones but are considered low-grade ore. Copper sulfide ores are less abundant; they contain a higher percentage of copper. Every mine site is unique in itself, considering its mineral composition, concentration, and quantities. They are the mine planners who distinguish the economic, feasible, and profitable ores. The mining method involved to extract copper involves underground mining and open-pit mining. Read further to know about the copper mining methods.

  • Underground Mining Method

The underground mining method is implemented when the copper ore is far from the earth’s surface. In this method, the miners dug a shaft into the ore deposit vertically. The shaft is sinking to an appropriate level, after which horizontal tunnel or adit are driven to reach the ore. This type of mining method is expensive.

  • Open-pit Mining Method

Open-pit mining is also known as opencast mining. It refers to mining directly on the ground surface. It is a surface mining technique used to extract minerals from open pits in the ground. It involves digging or drilling and blasting to remove the ore for processing. 

Conclusion

We cannot imagine our days without copper. We rely on copper for most of our needs, including power, lighting, heating, communication, water supply, and transportation. Copper is one of the most useful industrial metals and is extensively utilized to assist construction, electronics, and electrical sectors. The underground and open-pit mining methods are the two mining methods used to fulfill the demands of people.