Copper is an element that is found in the very earth that we live on. It is an essential part of our physiology as well in that it helps our bodies to create enzymes that allow for the transfer of energy in our cells. As a metal we have used it to build electrical wires, for plumbing and to create the 6mm Copper Pipe that you can buy from https://watkinspowis.co.uk/products/copper-pipe-fittings-and-press-systems/.
The minerals and ores of copper are found in two different rock types that are here on Earth – igneous (volcanic) rock and sedimentary rocks. In order to access these rocks two types of mining is undertaken.
Open Pit Mining – this is where large pits are dug and copper that is near to the surface can be quarried. This type of copper is often a lower grade than that found deeper in the surface of the Earth as it is much younger in age. The two largest open-pit copper mines are found in Chile and Utah in the United States.
Underground mining – this is mining at lower levels, deep within the earth and is much like the coal mining that was prevalent across Wales in the past. Shafts are sunk into the ground and tunnels are then created off these where the ore can be reached. This is much more expensive than open-pit mining and is usually limited to use in finding rich ores. The largest underground mine specialising in copper is again found in Chile.