Cheap electricity was the deciding
factor for location of aluminum refineries in Canada and Norway
as cheap hydro-electricity is available. Australia has high
reserves and also cheap energy so it can have a competitive
manufacturing industry. Nations that have high reserves but
can't afford production prefer imports from China or Australia.
Location factor for copper industry is same as aluminum
industry however refining stages are different.
Step 1: Copper ore has to be concentrated and sulphur and
oxygen impurities have to be removed. It is soaked in water
and mixed in oils. 2.5% of original matter remains and due to
high weight loss such industry are located close to source of
Step 2: Concentrated ore is called blister copper and is 99%
pure but still can't be used for manufacturing. Gold, silver,
lead and zinc impurities are present and have to be removed.
Electrolysis is needed to get these impurities removed. In
this stage too weight loss is low and hence availability of
cheap electricity determines the location of industry.
Note: Sulphur dioxide is a by product of
concentration process and is useful in manufacturing of
phosphoric acid. Rock phosphate is imported and the sulphuric
acid is used to get phosphoric acid. This is needed in
Challenges of Indian Copper Industry:
- Special copper alloys are imported as technical know how
for manufacturing them isn't available in India.
- The supply to demand is mismatched and met through
- The technology for making downstream copper products isn't
available and obsolete methods of concentration and refining
lead to air pollution.
- Scrap metal based copper smelters are still not
established in India however they use a fraction of the
energy needed by refineries.
- Extraction of metals like cobalt and nickel during copper
concentration isn't present in India.
- Average quality of copper produced and high manpower to
per tonne of finished copper compared to developed countries
Lead and zinc also are obtained by concentrating ore
using certain oils. This concentration is high weight loss
procedure. The second stage involves refining by
electrolysis and needs high electricity. So location factors
Questions for UPSC Mains
Explain factors for the growth of Aluminum industry?
Explain factors for the growth of Copper industry?