The Physics
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Price of Copper

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Edelstein, Daniel. Copper [pdf]. 2006: 42. [see table and graph] $0.13/kg (1932)
$2.89/kg (1989)
Johnson, Peter. Creating the ideal B2B environment for the mining business. Engineering and Mining Journal. 2005. "Copper was trading near $2/lb, while aluminum was just below $1/lb." $4.41/kg (2005)
A Penny's Secret. Women in Mining Education Foundation. 2006. "The price of copper rose to over $1.33 per pound in 1980, making the cost of minting a penny more than its monetary value." $2.93/kg (1980)
Henze, Doug. Skyrocketing cost of the copper hits builders. The Oakland Press. 2006. "Copper, now selling for about $3.60 a pound, traded for about $1.40 a year ago." $7.94/kg (2006)
$3.09/kg (2005)

When you think of copper, the first thing that comes to your mind is a penny. That might have been true if you had lived during the years of 1793-1836. Yep! You guess right! That was the last year when pennies were actually made completely out of copper like all commodities. The price of copper has fluctuated throughout the years, beginning with 22 cents a pound in 1850 to as high as $3 a pound currently (see chart for more details). Now pennies are made out of 97.6% zinc and 2.4% copper.

Cooper is the one of the most common and useful metals for over several thousand years. In ancient times, the Island of Cyprus provided the main sources of copper for the people who lived near the Mediterranean Sea. Therefore, it was called the Cyprian metal, translated into Roman as cuprum (Anglicized into English copper). It was also one of the first known metals (around 8000 BC) that humans used to create tools and weapons with. Later, people in the Middle East discovered how to make bronze by melting copper with arsenic. The Romans then discovered how to make brass and began to make coins with it around 100 BC.

There are four great things about copper that made it essential for our industry. These properties are:

  1. Malleable: Copper can be easily bend into shape.
  2. Conductivity (thermal and electrical): Copper is probably second to silver in electrical conductivity. Silver, however is expensive compare to copper. Therefore, it's most commonly use among many regular products.
  3. Ductility: Copper is able to roll in very thin rod without breaking
  4. Resistance to corrosion: Copper doesn't rust very easily.

Julie Tan -- 2006