Copper is a naturally occurring metal that can be found in the earth’s crust in the form of mineral ores. These copper ores can also be found in rivers, lakes, and oceans in the form of sedimentary and igneous rocks. Most of today’s modern copper mining is done at places where a large amount of copper has been gathered due to early volcanic eruptions that can be dated hundreds of years back. These eruptions usually deposited a large amount of molten copper in one place.

This article will discuss the details of copper mining and processing through its mineral ores and how it is molded into everyday use by copper mining and refining companies.

Mining Of Copper

Before the refining and further processing of copper ore, it is mined from the ground with the help of mining equipment in one of the following two methods.

  • Open-pit mining: This method of mining copper can be called the primary method as it is a mostly used method, and nearly 90% of the copper is mined using the open-pit mining method. Since most of the copper ores can be found near the surface level of the earth, open-pit mining is used to remove a few surface layers under which the ore can easily be removed. 

Machinery is used to dig, and sometimes for the hard rocks, small blasts are used to break them apart to mine copper ore. Once the ore has been mined, large conveyors or trucks are used to carry them to the processing site. 

  • Underground mining: This mining method is the least used as it is really expensive and involves a lot of digging. In underground mining of copper ore, large vertical shafts are sunk under the ground to an appropriate level where the ore is present. Then horizontal tunnels are driven into the ore to extract copper. 

Furthermore, the largest underground copper mine on earth is present in Chile, which can be called a hub of some largest copper mining companies.

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Processing Of Copper

Once the copper ore has been transferred to the processing site, copper extraction from its ore begins. The ore has to pass through six different processing stages until it is purified and is ready to use by the consumer in its everyday needs.

  • Grinding: Heavy grinding machinery is used for crushing the ore into powder.
  • Concentrating: Unwanted waste is removed, and the ore is enriched using a fourth rotation process.
  • Roasting: Sulphur is removed from the enriched powdered ore by heating it at 500-700℃ and then drying.
  • Smelting: A new substance called ‘Flux’ is added to the mixture and heated again.
  • Matte Conversion: Matte copper is converted into blister copper.
  • Electrolytic Refining: Blister copper is then refined through electrolysis into pure copper.


The use of copper increases day after day, and more mining companies are establishing to produce high-quality copper. We gathered this information to understand how we get copper that we consume daily.  Three Valley Copper operates as a mining company. Three Valley Copper Corp is focused on growing copper production and exploration of its primary asset, MTV located in Salamanca, Chile. It produces Electrolytic Copper Cathodes Grade A purity through the mining of its own deposits and the purchasing of third-party ore.