Mining of copper typically encompasses separating of sulfide ore and recovery of the purer metal particles from gangue minerals using froth flotation. The process follows crushing, grinding, and milling of the ore into fine particles, which are mixed with water into a slurry that is then fed into a flotation cell.
An agitator at the bottom of the cell stirs the slurry – commonly called pulp – and suspends the particles in the mix. Air supplied to the cell through the agitator creates bubbles which rise to the top of the tank, creating the froth. The addition of chemicals to the tank enables the metal particles
to attach themselves to the bubbles as they rise to the surface. The “tailings,” or residue, remaining in the slurry exit an outlet in the base of the tank and are generally discharged to a tailing pond.