Copper electrolysis

Copper electrolysis

Most of the world's primary copper comes from ores in which copper is present as a sulfide mineral. These ores contain typically less than 2% copper. Major copper ores deposits are in Chile, United States, Canada, Peru, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Russia.

The manufacture of the copper takes place in three stages: concentration of the ore (flotation), conversion of the sulfides and other copper compounds to copper (roasting of copper sulfide ores, leaching process, bacterial method), and purification of copper (electrolysis). After conversion to 98% copper, the product is known as blister copper. It is converted into an anode though thermal and chemical treatments. The 99% pure copper anodes are fed to the electro-refinery. The anodes are placed into an aqueous solution of 3 to 4% copper sulfate and 10 to 16% sulfuric acid.


Copper electrolysis

Copper sulfate (CuSO4) gets dissolved easily in water. It is an electrolyte therefore it splits into Cu2+ (cation) and SO42− (anion) ions and move freely in the solution. If two copper electrodes are immersed in that solution, the Cu2+ (cation) will be attracted towards cathode. On reaching on the cathode, each Cu2+ ion will take electrons from it and becomes neutral copper atoms. Similarly, the SO42− (anion) ions will move towards anode where they give up two electrons and become SO4 radical but since SO4 radical cannot exist in the electrical neutral state, it will attack the copper anode and will form copper sulfate CuSO4. During the electrolysis of copper sulfate with copper electrodes, copper is deposited on cathode and same amount of copper is removed from anode.


GAB Neumann’s process equipment

In order to optimize copper electrolysis and prevent crystallization of copper sulfate, the 3 to 4 % copper sulfate and 10 to 16% sulfuric acid solution must be maintained at a specific temperature. GAB Neumann supplies annular groove graphite heat exchangers, graphite heaters, graphite coolers, and graphite block heat exchangers to the copper producing companies.


Associated products:

Impervious graphite block heat exchangers

Impervious graphite annular groove partial condensers

Custom made heat exchangers

GAB Neumann GmbH

Alemannenstrasse 29

79689 Maulburg


Tel: +49 (7622) 6751 0

Fax: +49 (7622) 6751 20

GAB Neumann GmbH | Alemannenstrasse 29 | D-79689 Maulburg | Phone +49 (7622) 6751 0 | Fax +49 (7622) 6751 20 | E-Mail |