November 1997

How Do They Do That? Bringing Copper to Market

Copper Applications in Mining & Extraction


Concentrate Mined copper ore is processed into a fine, gray powder called concentrate, which contains up to 45% copper. In BHP plants within the United States all of the concentrate is shipped either by rail or by truck to the smelter at San Manuel.
Other mines, such as Escondida in Chile and Ok Tedi in Papua New Guinea, use a slurry (mixing the concentrate with water) to pipe it to a shipping port where it can then be shipped to customers around the world.
Smelter At the smelter, the copper concentrate is made into copper cathode. At San Manuel, some of the cathode is then sent to their internal rod plant.
The copper cathode and rod are sold to both traders and directly to wire companies. The cathode also often goes to brass and rod mills. Copper cathode is shipped throughout the world. Asia, the highest international importer of copper cathode generally receives 5000 tons of copper cathode each month from the San Manuel plant.
Household use
Telecommunications wire manufacturers, brass and rod mills
Copper plays a huge, yet often overlooked, role in the daily lives of billions of people around the world. For example, every car built contains more than 50 pounds of copper wiring and virtually all electronic equipment requires copper wiring to operate. In the United States alone, every person will use the equivalent of 19 pounds of copper each year.

Automobile production

On CU is the quarterly publication of
BHP Copper, a business group of
The Broken Hill Proprietary Corp., Ltd.

© 1997 BHP Copper
BHP Copper
550 California Street
San Francisco,
California 94104 top

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