Copper is a wonderful and useful metal element number 29 on the periodic table with the symbol Cu, from the Latin word "Cuprum", meaning "from the island of Cyprus". Cyprus was known from ancient time for its copper mines. So much metal came from Cyprus that the Romans called it "Cyprium aes" (Cypriot metal)
The mining history of Cyprus began 3000 BC on a full scale. The ancient Cypriots were not only experienced miners but also skilful metallurgists. They discovered many of the copper ore bodies which have been exploited in modern years, and they were able to recover the rich part of the ore bodies by underground exploitation methods and produce high grade metal copper (copper talents) by metallurgical methods. The core ideas of ancient Cypriot miners are still used today.
- Copper has a unique coloring among all the elements. It's instantly recognizable for its reddish metallic appearance. The only other non-silvery metal on the periodic table is gold, which has a yellowish color. The addition of copper to gold is how red gold or rose gold is made.
- Copper was the first metal to be worked by man, alongside gold and meteoritic iron. This is because these metals were among the few that existed in a "native state", meaning the relatively pure metal could be found in nature.
- Copper is an essential element for human nutrition. The mineral is critical for blood cell formation. Copper is found in many foods and most water supplies. Foods high in copper include leafy greens, grains, potatoes, and beans.
- Copper readily forms alloys with other metals. Two of the best-known alloys are brass (copper and zinc) and bronze (copper and tin)
- Copper is a natural antibacterial agent. It is common to use brass door knobs in public building (brass being a copper alloy) because they help prevent disease transmission. The metal is also toxic to invertebrates, so it is used on ship hulls to prevent attachment of mussels and barnacles.
- Copper has many desirable properties, which characteristic of transition metals in general. It is soft, malleable, ductile, an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, and resists corrosion.
- In industrial use, copper ranks 3rd, behind iron and aluminum. Copper is used in wiring, plumbing, electronics, building construction, cookware, coins, and a host of other products.
Nearly 80% of the copper that has been mined to date is still in use. Copper is a 100% recyclable metal. It's an abundant metal in the Earth's crust, present at concentrations of 50 parts per million.