Copper

Vincent, J. D. ; Bassarear, J. H.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1985
General. Copper, the first metal used by man, today is the third in consumption after iron and aluminum. Compared to these it is relatively rare, with less than 0.01% of the earth's crust copper, 8% aluminum, and 5% iron. Nevertheless. our modern civilization is heavily dependent upon copper because of its high conductivity and resistance to corrosion, ease of working, durability, wide range of properties by virtue of its readiness to form alloys with other metals, and its attractive colors and texture that make it so desirable for many crafts and arts. These attributes explain why copper is chosen for a long list of uses, including electrical wiring, switchgear, and bus bars; piping, roofing, and siding; and manufactures of brass, bronze, and other alloys. The fact that copper ore is mined in nearly all parts of the world is significant. Its importance is shown in Table I, which gives figures on world production from 1968 to 1977. In the Free World, North and South America and Africa are preeminent. The table also shows the generally upward trend of production in this period; accurate figures for 1978 and 1979 from the same source are not yet available (1980), but it is certain that major environmental, economical, and political factors continued to disturb the industry in those years and into 1980.
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