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copper flotation production

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copper production: how is copper made? - thoughtco

The refining techniques employed by copper producers depend on the ore type, as well as other economic and environmental factors. Currently, about 80% of global copper production is extracted from sulfide sources.

Regardless of the ore type, mined copper ore must first be concentrated to remove gangue or unwanted materials embedded in the ore. The first step in this process is crushing and powdering ore in a ball or rod mill.

Virtually all sulfide-type copper ores, including chalcocite (Cu2S), chalcopyrite (CuFeS2) and covellite (CuS), are treated by smelting. After crushing the ore to a fine powder, it is concentrated by froth flotation, which requires mixing the powdered ore with reagents that combine with the copper to make it hydrophobic. The mixture is then bathed in water along with a foaming agent, which encourages frothing.

copper production: how is copper made? - thoughtco

Jets of air are shot up through the water forming bubbles that float the water repellent copper particles to the surface. The froth, which contains about 30% copper, 27% iron and 33% sulfur, is skimmed off and taken for roasting.

If economical, lesser impurities that may be present in the ore, such as molybdenum, lead, gold, and silver, can also be processed and removed at this time through selective flotation. At temperatures between 932-1292°F (500-700°C), much of the sulfur content remaining is burned off as sulfide gas, resulting in a calcine mix of copper oxides and sulfides.

copper ore - an overview | sciencedirect topics

The copper ore production process operation as defined in Section 3.1 is simulated for a period of one year with various failure modes. The time evolution of the cumulative cost curves and copper output for 100 Monte Carlo (MC) simulations are shown in Figure 5 for easier visualisation. More MC simulations can be done while characterising the system. Different failure modes occur at different instants of time which result in different trajectories of evolution in both the curves. As can be seen from Figure 5, there is considerable variability in final values at the end of one year

The copper ores being mined in 2010 are too lean in copper (0.5–2% Cu) to be smelted directly. Heating and melting their huge quantity of waste rock would require prohibitive amounts of hydrocarbon fuel. Fortunately, the Cu–Fe–S and Cu–S minerals in an ore can be isolated by physical means into high-Cu concentrate, which can then be smelted economically

The most effective method of isolating the Cu minerals is froth flotation. This process causes the Cu minerals to become selectively attached to air bubbles rising through a slurry of finely ground ore in water (Fig. 1.4). Selectivity of flotation is created by using reagents, which make Cu minerals water repellent while leaving waste minerals wetted. In turn, this water repellency causes Cu minerals to float on rising bubbles while the other minerals remain un-floated. The floated Cu-mineral particles overflow the flotation cell in a froth to become concentrate containing ~30% Cu

FIGURE 1.4. Schematic view of flotation cell. Reagents cause Cu–Fe sulfide and Cu sulfide minerals in the ore to attach to rising air bubbles, which are then collected in a short-lived froth. This froth is de-watered to become concentrate. The un-floated waste passes through several cells before being discarded as a final tailing. Many types and sizes (up to 300 m3) of cell are used

copper ore - an overview | sciencedirect topics

Beneficiation of copper ores is done almost exclusively by selective froth flotation. Flotation entails first attaching fine copper mineral particles to bubbles rising through an ore–water pulp and, second, collecting the copper minerals at the top of the pulp as a briefly stable mineral–water–air froth. Noncopper minerals do not attach to the rising bubbles; they are discarded as “tailings.” The selectivity of the process is controlled by chemical reagents added to the pulp. The process is continuous and it is done on a large scale—103 to 105 tonnes of ore feed per day

Beneficiation is begun with crushing and wet-grinding the ore to typically 10–100μm. This ensures that the copper mineral grains are for the most part liberated from the worthless minerals. This comminution is carried out with gyratory crushers and rotary grinding mills. The grinding is usually done with hard ore pieces or hard steel balls, sometimes both. The product of crushing and grinding is a water–particle pulp, comprising ∼35% solids

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