Copper Refining Market: Overview

In metallurgy, refining is a process conducted to obtain the purest form of a metal. Copper refining is a process which is purely defined by the type of minerals copper metal contains. Copper metal is often recognized as the center of technological advancements with its use in a broad range of major applications. In copper refining, the metal is melted down in a reverberatory furnace in somewhat oxidizing atmosphere. Then, it is subjected to oxidizing smelting in order to eliminate common impurities, most of which have stronger affinity toward oxygen compared to copper.

Refined copper offers several benefits. For instance, it acts as a good conductor of electricity. It possesses good resistance to corrosion. Innovations and technological advancements are emerging for the development of electro-refining of copper, which would offer cost reduction. Valuable impurities from copper ore such as gold, silver, and nickel can be retrieved successfully through smelting and electro-refining of copper. Restraints of the copper refining market include low resistance to abrasion and common acids as well as its low tensile strength. Electro-refining of copper is a capital–intensive process. Copper has shorter life expectancy, as it is susceptible to oxidation. Refined copper possesses higher ductility than other metals, with the exception of silver and gold.

Copper Refining Market: Key Segmentation

The copper refining market can be segmented based on refining process, application, and region. Based on refining process, the copper refining market can be segmented into smelting and electro-refining. Smelting uses heat and chemical reducing agents for decomposition of copper ore and elimination of unwanted slag and other elements for obtaining the pure form of copper. Electro-refining of copper is a process wherein copper ore is carried out in the presence of using aqueous solution for extracting the pure form of copper. Electro-refining is a process that generates majority of pure copper. Refined copper is used in industries such as oil & gas and chemical labs. It is used in applications such as power generation, telecommunications, electronic circuits, power transmission, and various types of electric equipment. Through the electro-refining process, copper is used in obtaining remaining impurities present in the copper ore. Impurities in copper ore include traces of gold, silver, and nickel.

Copper Refining Market: Regional Outlook

China, India, Japan, and Australia dominate the copper refining market in Asia Pacific, due to rapid urbanization and industrialization in these countries. Demand for copper refining in North America is expected to rise in the near future, as the U.S. Government plans to refurbish and develop its existing infrastructure. Demand for copper refining in countries of Europe such as the U.K., Germany, and France is increasing rapidly, due to development of smart cities and industrial sectors in these countries. The European Copper Institute emphasizes promotion of copper refining for use of pure copper in major applications. Demand for copper refining is anticipated to increase in countries of Latin America, such as Mexico and Argentina in the near future, due to rapid and constant industrialization in these countries. The copper refining market in Africa is projected to expand in the near future, owing to increase in industrialization in the sub-region.

Copper Refining Market: Key Players

Key players operating in the global copper refining market are BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Freeport-MacRan, Rio Tinto, and Pan Pacific Copper.

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