Copper if found almost all over the world. It is mostly found in copper ore (ore is a material that is made naturally by nature, from which metals and minerals are separated).
However, in some parts of the world, copper is also found in crystal chunks and these are called “native copper”.
In America, the most common place to find native copper is on the Keeweenaw Peninsula near Lake Superior in Michigan.
Copper is also symbolic of mankind’s journey forward. It is the first metal used by man more than 10,000 years ago when “native copper” was first found.
Prehistoric man first used copper to make weapons like knives and axes because it was easier to make them out of copper than out of stone and rock.
For the first five hundred years or so copper was the only metal man ever knew. With the beginning of the Bronze Age, around 3000 BC mixing copper with tin, and silver and lead were being used.
Copper has been used for centuries to make coins, jewellery, ornaments, pots, pans, art, in architecture and building sites for drains, roofs and many other purposes.
Copper’s chemical symbol in the periodic table is Cu, which stands for cuprum, the Latin word for copper. Its atomic number is 29.
Copper is considered a ductile (can be shaped or stretched into wire), and is great at being able to conduct electricity and heat.
Because of these great properties, you will find copper in its various forms all around you.
The wires in your home, from the ones you can see, to the ones that are behind walls, are wound with copper. If you take a dead scrap of wire apart, you will see the copper inside.
Copper can be used for many things, and because it is strong, long lasting, and easily mouldable, it has been called “man’s eternal metal”.
At its heart, copper is an atom with only one electron in its outer most ring. Out in the universe, copper is made inside a red giant star along with other types of atoms, and soon it explodes into a supernova shooting copper (and other) atoms out.
Copper came to earth at the very beginning of time when Earth first formed. Like iron, copper is an essential ingredient in our make up because it helps different systems work.
Similar to most natural resources, copper ore is first mined, and then put through a long process of refining and purifying.
The future of copper is great because copper has the advantage of being 100% recyclable. In North America, more than half of the copper that is used comes from recycled material.
Furthermore, scientists believe that over 80% of the copper that has ever been mined in the world is still used today because so much of it keeps getting recycled.