Extracting Metals

Who would want to spend all his energy and time trying to extract ore, purify and store produced metals if it was unprofitable? The economics of extracting metals out of the Earth are complicated and require huge investments, good thing the Earth is not sending us a bill! This video uses the example of iron, aluminum and copper to display the difference in mining techniques and approaches.

Metals can be more or lees reactive and this variable dictates the procedure of extraction - reactive metals must be dealt with more caution. For example, carbon is required in order to remove oxygen out of iron ore. Different story with aluminum, only the electricity is able to remove the oxygen - the process called electrolysis - making aluminum significantly more expensive than iron. Copper is also extracted using method of electrolysis. However, the electrolysis cost in not the only issue with copper, copper-rich ores are running out which additionally impacts the price tag. Therefore it's even more expensive than aluminum.