Copper, uranium, vanadium and other metals are produced by solvent extraction. The figure below is a simplified schematic of a typical copper solvent extraction process. Oxide copper ore, lowgrade copper sulfide overburden, and other coppercontaining materials are stacked into a heap.
Highgrade copper ores are becoming a thing of the past, with most ore falling in the range of . 5% – 2%. Even deposits now considered to be high grade must still first be concentrated for smelting. This will likely further increase the importance of the SXEW process in future copper production.