Copper Processing Plant Flow Sheet
The copper processing plant flow sheet starts by reducing the size of the ore and making it manageable for extraction. Once crushed, the ore is dumped into a rotating mill, along with water. The mill further crushes the rock and water together to create a slurry or slushy mixture.
Separation begins by putting the mixture into a froth flotation. The flotation process adds other chemicals and substances that raise the pH of the slurry and begins to pull the metal away from the minerals.
After the flotation process, the ore is referred to as copper concentrate. The concentrate is dried and sent to the smelting process, which further separates and refines the metal.
Copper Processing Operation
About 80 % of primary copper production comes from low-grade or poor sulfide ores. After enrichment steps, the copper concentrates are usually treated by pyrometallurgical methods. Generally, copper extraction follows the sequence:
- Beneficiation by froth flotation of ore to give copper concentrate(Optional partial roasting to obtain oxidized material or calcines)
- Two-stage pyrometallurgical extraction: smelting concentrates to matte; converting matte by oxidation to crude (converter or blister) copper
- Refining the crude copper, usually in two steps: pyrometallurgically to fire-refined copper; electrolytically to high-purity electrolytic copper
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