Sulfide ores are mixed with water and special chemicals creating a slurry. The slurry, when agitated causes the copper sulfide minerals to float at which point they are skimmed off the surface and eventually dried. The dried material called concentrate is then sent to the smelter.
Oxide ores (and certain sulfide ores) are placed onto a leach pad and saturated with weak acid solutions that dissolve the copper mineral content. The resulting copper-bearing solution is collected and pumped to a solvent extraction plant.