Copper is everywhere – take a minute and look around you, it’s in what you see and often in what you don’t see. It’s behind the walls of your home, in electrical and telephone wiring. It’s in computers, refrigerators, microwaves and automobiles.
The average home today contains about 400 pounds of copper for electrical wiring, water pipes and appliances, while the automobile you drive contains about 50 pounds. Each child born today in America will need 1500 pounds of copper in the course of his or her lifetime to enjoy our current standard of living.
Copper is the most versatile and durable of all metals and has been called “man’s eternal metal”. Copper is malleable, ductile and long lasting. Copper is a better conductor of heat and electricity than any other metal except silver. Without copper, there might never have been an electric light or space flight. This miraculous mineral and its alloys are at the heart of all technology, from telecommunications to transportation.
Copper Consumption – Copper and copper alloy products used in building construction, such as electrical wire and power cables, water pipes, plumbing fixtures, roofing materials and brass furnishings account for 40% of the annual consumption of copper. Electric and electronic products account for 25%; industrial machinery and equipment account for 12%; transportation equipment uses 13% and consumer and general products account for 10%.
Did you know? – When zinc is alloyed with copper, brass is made. And when tin is alloyed with copper, bronze is made. Both brass and bronze are stronger than pure copper and do not corrode in air or water except for a small amount of tarnishing.
Home Furnishings – Your refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, washing machine and clothes dryer are just a few of the laborsaving devices in your home that contain copper. Entertainment components such as your VCR, television, stereo and computer equipment are all dependent upon copper. Copper is alloyed with zinc to form brass, which increases the strength and castability, imparts an appealing golden color, and is used in door knobs, light fixtures and home décor furnishings.
Did you know? – Today’s U.S. coins, dimes, quarters and half dollars have a solid copper core and an outer layer of a copper-nickel alloy.
Copper Fact – The Statue of Liberty contains 179,000 pounds of copper. After one hundred years of enduring biting sea winds, driving rains and the beating sun, the copper skin of the Statue of Liberty not only has grown more beautiful, it has remained virtually intact. The weathering and oxidation of the copper skin has amounted to just .005 of an inch in a century.
Copper’s Future – One of copper’s major advantages is that it is recyclable. In North America alone, approximately one half of the copper consumed annually comes from recycled material. Copper’s recycle value is so great that premium-grade scrap has at least 95% of the value of primary copper from newly mined ore.
For more information on copper please contact:
Arizona Mining Association
2702 North Third Street, Suite 2015
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Or visit their Website at www.azcu.org