EXTRACTION OF COPPER
On industrial scale copper is extracted from its sulphide ore known as copper pyrite (CuFeS2) by smelting method.
STEPS OF EXTRACTION
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Concentration
Roasting
Smelting
Bessemerization
CONCENTRATION
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Finely divided CuFeS2 is concentrated by "Froth-floatation method". Crushed ore is suspended in water containing pine oil. A blast of air is passed through the suspension. The particles of ore get wetted by oil and floats as a froth which is skimmed. The gangue sink to the bottom.
ROASTING
 
The concentrated ore is then roasted in the furnace in the presence of oxygen. During roasting sulphur, arsenic, antimony are converted into oxides and are removed.
4CuFeS2 + SO2 ® 2CuS2 + 2FeO + 2FeS + 2SO2
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  SMELTING
Roasted ore is then mixed with coke and sand and is fed into a blast furnace. Hot air converts FeO to iron silicate (FeSiO3).
FeO + SiO2 ® FeSiO3 + molten mass
BESSEMERIZATION
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Matte is converted into copper in a special furnace which is known as "Bessemer converter". When air is blown through the matte following reactions take place.
2Cu2S + 3O2 ® 2Cu2O + 2SO2
2Cu2O + Cu2S ® 6Cu + SO2
2FeS + 3O2 ® 2FeO + 2SO2
Copper obtained by this process is called blister copper. It is 97.98% pure.
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