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Copper concentrate powder is an essential material for the copper smelting and refining process. It is obtained from low-grade copper-bearing raw ore and is then treated with an ore dressing process.
The first commercial product of the copper production line is the copper concentrate. Although this powder can be supplied directly to smelting plants, it should be processed by an ore dressing process.
The smelting process converts the sulfide mineral to metallic copper. During this process, impurities are removed and the concentration is increased. These impurities are hazardous to the environment and may be deleterious to the quality of the metal. Typically, smelters pay a rate of 96 percent for the copper content in concentrate.
After the concentrate is smelted, it is transferred to a cylindrical vessel called a converter. This device contains a variety of chemicals to help with the conversion process. Sulfuric acid is used to create an electrolytic solution.
The chemical reactions that occur in the converter allow the concentrate to be separated into two layers: a matte layer, which contains copper, and a slag layer, which contains iron oxide and silica. Once this occurs, the copper content is refined in several stages.
Most smelters have strict limits on the number of impurities they can accept. If the concentration does not meet these limits, penalties may be imposed.
When the concentrate is en route to the refiner, a third party may spot check it. Normally, charges for copper concentrates are fixed on an annual basis. However, they can fluctuate with the market price of copper.