Electrolysis is used to extract metals from their ores. As it’s name suggests the process involves electricity. Two electrodes are placed in a solution of the ore or molten ore and a current is passed through it. The positive electrode is called the anode and the negative electrode is called the cathode. In solution or in a molten state the positive ions are attracted to the negative cathode and the negative ions are attracted to the positive anode.
Copper can be extracted from it’s ore by smelting but the copper produced is not pure enough for many of the uses for which it is needed. The impure copper is purified by electrolysis.