Solvent Extraction of Copper experiment


Chemical Reactions

Geology / Mineral Formation


Type of Resource


Year Level

Years 11-12




Energy & Renewables

Resources for


Australian Curriculum Content Statements


In this experiment students carry out an investigation similar to what is conducted within industrial laboratories. Information and directions are provided for the experiment which investigates the recovery of copper metal from ore using solvent extraction. It includes background information on the industrial process and chemistry involved, as well as notes for teachers.

QRC wishes to acknowledge the collaborative efforts of Bob Hannah Senior Lecturer, Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering Program, School of Engineering, The University of Queensland and Rick Morrow Science Head of Department of Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy school Marist College Ashgrove in the preparation of this experiment.

Educational value statement

  • Provides practical examples to illustrate chemical equilibrium and Le Chatelier’s Principle.
  • Allows students to carry out authentic laboratory work as applied in industry.
  • Can be downloaded as a PDF or MSWord file.

Key learning objectives

  • Students use solvent extraction to isolate and concentrate a solute.
  • Students construct graphs to represent data and analyse them for trends and patterns.
  • Students investigate how chemistry can be used to produce useful substances such as copper.


  • Science Understanding: Chemical sciences
  • Science Inquiry Skills: Planning and conducting; Processing and analysing data and information.