Worksheet: Extraction of Copper

In this worksheet, we will practice describing the production of solid copper from ores by processes such as smelting, bioleaching, and electrolysis.


Which of the following is not a common application of copper?

  • AElectrical wiring
  • BPlumbing
  • CStructural supports in buildings
  • DJewelry
  • ECoins


Copper is found in two types of ore: copper-rich and copper-poor ores. Which of the following is not a common industrial method for removing copper from its ores?

  • APhytomining, where plants draw in copper ions from the soil
  • BDisplacement with calcium, where the ore is mixed with molten calcium, generating solid copper and calcium salts
  • CSmelting by mixing with air at high temperatures
  • DBioleaching, where bacteria feed on components of the ore, producing soluble copper ions
  • ETreatment with sulfuric acid to produce a solution of copper sulfate


One of the final steps of copper refining is electroplating copper onto a copper electrode. When the deposited copper comes from a copper sulfate solution, such as that produced from sulfuric acid leaching, the process is called electrowinning.

In electrowinning, a lead anode and a copper cathode are immersed in a bath of copper(II) sulfate, and a potential difference is applied.

What is the half-equation of the reaction that occurs at the cathode?

  • ACu()Cu()+esaq2+
  • BCu()+2eCu()2+aqs
  • CCu()Cu()+2esaq2+
  • D2H()+2eH()+2aqg
  • ECu()+eCu()2+aqs

What is the half-equation of the reaction that occurs at the anode?

  • A2OH()HO()+2e22aqaq
  • BHO()2H()+O()+2e2+2laqg12
  • C4OH()2HO()+O()+4e22aqlg
  • D2OH()+H()2HO(l)+2e22aqg
  • E2Cl()Cl()+2e2aqg


Smelting of copper ores produces an impure material, which can be converted to pure copper using the electrolysis apparatus illustrated in the diagram. An electrical current causes the immersed cathode to be coated with pure copper, while less reactive impurities fall to the bottom of the cell.

What is the half-equation of the reaction taking place at the anode?

  • ACu()+eCu()2++aqaq
  • BCu()+2eCu()2+aqs
  • CCu()+eCu()+aqs
  • DCu()Cu()+2esaq2+
  • ECu()Cu()+esaq+

What is the half-equation of the reaction taking place at the cathode?

  • ACu()+eCu()+aqs
  • BCu()+eCu()2++aqaq
  • CCu()Cu()+2esaq2+
  • DCu()Cu()+esaq+
  • ECu()+2eCu()2+aqs

A 95.0 kg pure copper cathode has a surface area of 1.50 m2 and a density of 9.00 g/cm3. The cathode is electroplated with a layer of pure copper 2.00 mm in thickness. It is assumed that the cathode is coated evenly with copper and that coating has a negligible effect on the surface area of the cathode. What is the mass of the cathode after coating is complete?


Which of the following ores contains the largest amount of copper, as a percentage of the total mass?

  • ACuFeS2
  • BCuS2
  • CCuS95
  • DCuS
  • ECuCO3

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