3.4 Extracting copper
Copper can be extracted from a copper-rich ore by smelting. Smelting produces impure copper, which can be purified using electrolysis. There are two new ways to extract copper from low-grade ores:
Bioleaching- uses bacteria to produce solutions containing copper compounds.
Phytoming- uses plants to absorb copper compounds from the ground, and then the plants are burned producing ash from which the copper can be extracted.
Copper can be obtained from solutions of copper salts by displacement or electrolysis.