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As human civilization advances into the twenty-first century, an increasing dependence on high purity materials abounds, particularly related to the manufacturing of electronic devices and wiring. An integral raw material for electronics is high purity copper. While copper has been mined and smelted for more than 5000 years, the requirements of modern technology are for the large-scale industrial production of copper with greater than 99.99% purity. Over the past 150 years, processes have been developed that can ensure a steady supply of low-cost high-purity copper for worldwide consumption. The processes can be categorized into two main commercially used methods. One method produces copper from primary sources (i.e. ores), while the other involves the recycling of copper scrap. The two major routes for recovering copper are conventional (or pyrometallurgical) and hydrometallurgical processing. Secondary copper production recovers copper from scrap using some of the same operations as conventional processing.

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Conventional Processing of Copper
Hydrometallurgical Processing of Copper
Secondary Processing of Copper

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