The crust of the earth is blessed with rich minerals. You must be aware of the major usage of metals and minerals in our regular days. They are involved in basic infrastructure, machinery, tools, and equipment, making our lives even easier. We are immensely dependent on the materials produced with the help of metals. But you will be surprised to know that most people aren’t familiar with the origin and process of metal extraction. In every society, mining and metals prompted sustainable economic growth and the building of inclusive communities.
World Copper Production
If we talk about the most useful industrial metal, we can’t forget to discuss copper metal found in large minable deposits. Due to its excellent properties, it is extensively used in various sectors. Countries like Chile, the USA, and Peru are the major contributors to global copper production. The copper produced in Chile was estimated at 5.7 million metric tons in 2020. In the same year, Peru produced 2.2 million metric tons of copper. In the USA, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico are producing large quantities of copper. There were around 15.1 million metric tons of copper produced worldwide in 2006 to meet the increasing demands of copper goods. Talking about this figure, the production in 2017 was increased to more than 19 million metric tons. Colombia mining companies have majorly driven socio-economic development. The responsibility of discovering, permitting, and constructing the largest gold mine in Columbia is given to Collective Mining (CNL.V). There are many more companies like Highland Valley Copper.
Naturally, copper is found associated with sulfur and goes through multistage processes for its extraction. The low-grade ores contain copper sulfide. Refined copper is majorly involved in meeting the global copper demand. China is one of the largest consumers and producers of refined copper. China was also responsible for nearly 42% share of global refined copper production in 2020.
Now you are familiar with the high-scale usage of copper in numerous fields. When it comes to copper exploration, large-scale porphyry deposits were highly valuable and profitable mines. Various types of deposits include volcanogenic massive sulfide, iron oxide copper-gold, copper skarn ore deposits from which copper can be obtained. The emerging field of science and technology has made copper exploration even more convenient. For example, NIR spectroscopy is a great tool for mineral identification. The whole life cycle involves various stages like prospecting, exploration, development, extraction, and finally reclamation or closure.
The prospecting and exploration might take about two to eight years for its completion. The region for mineral deposits is identified in the very first step. Nowadays, the prospect is done with the help of several available geological methods. There are direct ways to identify surface mineral deposits by assessing the conditions of the region with the help of Geology experts.
Underground mineral deposits are assessed with indirect methods by examining rock alterations. The rock, soil, and water samples are also examined. The process is continued by creating a well-structured and detailed map of surface and underground rock formations. After proper identification, the experts have various technologies and methodologies to find out the size and value of deposits.
It’s very hard to imagine a world without copper. Due to its enormous properties, it is extensively used for numerous purposes. The old copper stuff can be successfully refined for sustainable reuse. Copper exploration is the first and important step of copper extraction, which would further help meet global demands.