Copper

Copper commonly occurs in veins associated with quartz, silver, gold and occasionally uranium, antimony and phosphorus.

Copper is a non-ferrous base metal and its average concentration in the earth’s crust is about 50 ppm (parts per million). The average minimum exploitable grade for a copper deposit is 0.4% which equates to a concentration factor of around 80 based on average crustal abundance. Copper occurs naturally in all plants and animals, as it is an essential element for all known living organisms. Copper commonly occurs in veins associated with quartz, silver, gold and occasionally uranium, antimony and phosphorus. These polymetallic37 veins may be related to porphyry copper, copper skarn, epithermal gold-silver-copper and sediment-hosted copper deposits.

Presently, copper is used in building construction, power generation and transmission, electronic product manufacturing, and the production of industrial machinery and transportation vehicles. Copper wiring and plumbing are integral to the appliances, heating and cooling systems, and telecommunications links used every day in homes and businesses. Copper is an essential component in the motors, wiring, radiators, connectors, brakes, and bearings used in cars and trucks. The average car contains 1.5 kilometers (0.9 mile) of copper wire, and the total amount of copper ranges from 20 kilograms (44 pounds) in small cars to 45 kilograms (99 pounds) in luxury and hybrid vehicles.

Copper ore is mined and then must be crushed as part of the process that occurs between extraction and production. After the ore is crushed, it’s roasted, which helps to convert sulfides to oxides. The oxides are smelted to produce matte, which then undergoes several refining processes. Typically the mined ore body goes through the following stages before a saleable product is produced, these stages include: Grinding, Concentrating, Roasting, Smelting, Conversion, Anode Casting and Electro-Refining

Where a copper-gold orebody is mined, the gold can be processed and separated to create ingots than can be sold to a gold refinery.

Copper is a quoted and traded metal on the London Metal Exchange www.lme.com where daily pricing is quoted.

The main trade body that represents the international copper industry is the Copper Alliance www.copperalliance.org