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Fundamentals

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Copper Fundamentals

Copper, element number 29 on the periodic table, is a mineral that has high ductility, malleability, thermal and electrical conductivity and is resistant to corrosion. These unique properties make it an essential mineral in our everyday lives.

Copper gets its name from the Latin word Cuprum, meaning from the island of Cyprus. In the Ancient Roman world (whose common language was Latin), most copper was mined in Cyprus.

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.

The world's production (supply) and consumption (demand) of copper have increased dramatically in the past 25 years. As large developing countries have entered the global market, demand for mineral commodities, including copper, has increased. In the past 20 years, the Andean region of South America has emerged as the world's most productive copper region. In 2007, about 45 percent of the world's copper was produced from the Andes Mountains; the United States produced 8 percent. Virtually all copper produced in the United States comes from, in decreasing order of production, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, or Montana.