Copper is the third most consumed metal after iron and aluminium. In its pure state copper is a hard yet easily forged heavy metal with a reddish-orange colour. Because copper has many positive physical, mechanical, chemical and biological properties it is used in a number of industrial sectors and areas of life.
Copper conducts electrical current very well and its conductivity is only surpassed by that of silver. Copper is also resistant to corrosion and can be shaped easily. Because of these properties, today the construction industry and the electrical industry are the main areas where copper is used. The boom in the construction industry in developing and industrialised countries, such as China, is the main factor behind the demand for copper.
Copper has been used by human beings for thousands of years and it is a component of bronze and brass alloys. The oldest finds of processed copper were discovered in Anatolia and originate from the 8th millennium B.C. Because of the increased distribution and use of copper, the 4th and 3rd millennia B.C. are also known as the “Copper Age”. Copper was initially used exclusively in its pure state, but was later used increasingly in the production of other metal alloys.