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Availability of Copper is Secured

Copper is found in traces in almost all rocks

The average copper content in the earth’s crust is about 0.006 %. In the order of frequency of all elements, copper is in 23rd place. Metals occur in nature mainly as chemical compounds with oxygen (oxides) or with sulphur (sulphides); only very rarely are they found in pure form. Among these exceptions – besides the precious metals gold and silver – is copper.

Copper with its chemical symbol Cu (from cuprum) is found in the periodic system of elements in the first subgroup together with silver and gold. This is because copper has similarities with both metals: copper and gold are the only two coloured metallic elements, and copper and silver are the two best conductors of heat and electricity. The formation of copper ore deposits goes back to complex geological and geochemical processes. Depending on the nature of these processes, deposits of varying size and richness can be formed. Copper ores are found throughout the earth’s crust. The outer 10 km of crust contain about 33 g of copper per tonne of rock. Molten deposits are found in areas with strong volcanic activity millions of years ago. Today, numerous mines are found here because the quantities available make mining economically lucrative.

Availability of copper is secured

Other significant deposits can be found in Australia, Indonesia, Russia, Canada, Zambia, Poland, Kazakhstan and Mexico. While most mines have copper concentrations between 0.2 and 0.8 %, there are even deposits in Central and South Africa that can contain 5 to 6 % copper. In Europe, the largest copper deposits are found in Russia and Poland. Economically operating mines can also be found in Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), copper reserves currently amount to around 1,000 million tonnes (Mt). The identified and undiscovered copper resources are estimated at around 2,100 million tonnes and 3,500 million tonnes respectively. The latter do not take into account the huge quantities of copper that occur in deep-sea nodules and in land-based and submarine massive sulphides. Current and future exploration opportunities will lead to an increase in both reserves and known resources. 

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(Source: Kupferverband e. V. Press Release)



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