“Around the Copper World in Eighty Days” A Virtual Tour of World Copper Operations and Technologies
Additonal authors: Warner, A.E.M.. Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:
Proceedings, Vol. Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019, 2019
Copper metal is produced in large or small tonnages in almost all countries of the world—handling raw materials in the form of either as-mined or milled ores, custom concentrates, or other custom materials including scrap and recycled copper. The scale of operations and type of technologies used around the world varies widely. There is a certain concentration of both mining and smelter-refinery production as a total of ten countries produce some 80% of world mined copper, while ten countries—mostly different ones— produce about 80% of smelted and refined copper. As a result, international copper trade is significant. The present paper takes the reader on a virtual tour of the copper plants throughout the world with a focus on smelter facilities. Operations and technology employed at each plant visited are discussed including a brief historical sketch. Future trends identified during the world tour are also discussed. The present authors considered sufficient time was required for a thorough study tour and settled on eighty days—the same as that for the celebrated fictional story of world circumnavigation in the 1870s.
The celebrated French writer Jules Verne published his book “Around the world in 80 days” in English in1873 and it is the story of Phileas Fogg and his French valet Passepartout circumnavigating the world in 80 days in the fall of 1872 on a £20,000 wager (equivalent to over 2 million pounds today) from the exclusive Reform club in London. This is an interesting period for copper as it started trading on the London metals Exchange in 1876 and the start of global copper production chains started to take off at this time with the rapidly increasing electrification of the world. The production chain includes mining, mineral processing, smelting, refining and fabrication. Since 1880 annual world copper production has increased by over 150 times from 154,000 tonnes in 1880 (nominally considered as smelted copper—essentially the only route at the time to marketable copper) to over 23 million tonnes today (including total refined copper of 19 million tonnes of smelted copper including scrap and 4 million tonnes by solvent extraction-electrowinning), in tandem with increased electricity usage, along with significant transportation usage and for manufactured products (Figure 1).
Copper 2019, COM2019