The Copper Smelting Process

An entrepreneur with a successful record of creating advertising and marketing firms and nurturing them to long-term success, Albert Barbusci has started and developed companies in China, North America, and other countries around the Pacific Rim. Having recently become a principal shareholder in Blue Zen Memorial Parks, Inc., Albert Barbusci is working with the company’s leadership to re-orient its efforts to copper mining.

Extracting copper from its ores is a complex and time-consuming process, but recent archaeological records indicate that it was first accomplished about 7,000 years ago by separate civilizations in different parts of the world. Although copper, like gold, sometimes is found in relatively pure form, it usually is found in ore, from which it must be extracted.

Extracting copper from ore is more than a matter of crushing the ore and then raising it to a temperature high enough to let the copper liquefy and pour off. The copper is generally locked in a compound with other elements like sulfur, oxygen, or an oxygen-carbon mix, and must be freed through a reduction process. This can often be accomplished by heating the material to a point below copper’s melting point, but hot enough to cause other chemical reactions. For example, malachite is a combination of copper, carbon, and oxygen. Heating it to between 250 and 350 degrees F sets off reactions that separate the carbon and release it with some of the oxygen, in the form of carbon dioxide, leaving copper oxide to be reduced by another heating process.

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