Copper is a chemical element, with chemical symbol Cu from Latin word Cuprum. Copper is reddish-orange, soft, transition and tough metal.
In humid air, its surface is covered with a layer of basic carbonates of typical green colour. Copper directly combines with halogens, oxygen, sulphur, selenium, and teller. With other elements, copper combines indirectly.
The most valuable quality of the copper is the thermal and electrical conductivity. Copper is mainly used in electrical conductors, and it offers wide usage in the infrastructure project in power plants and the other facilities producing electricity. As a result of the construction of numerous massive infrastructure projects in Asia, demand for copper will most likely not decline in future years. Its ubiquity in electric conductors secures that copper will grow massively for many years.
Copper is also used in other industries, such as building constructions and jewelry. Copper also plays an essential role in agriculture and the food industry as it is a source of nutrients and energy for plants such as rice or rye. Copper is also included in our diet. In this understanding, it is one of the most valuable commodities in the world.
In the futures market, copper is usually traded for its use in industry. In addition to the already mentioned conductivity and utilisation in the electrical industry, copper is an outstanding material for the telecommunications industry all over the world. Copper wires play a significant role in computers and other electronic systems. Copper is also used in astronautics and healthcare.
Health technologies are becoming increasingly sophisticated and often depend on Internet connectivity. Here, too, copper enters into play, characterized by durability and reliability. The most important benefits of copper include its recyclability. Old copper wires can be easily recycled and reused. Copper is also a key component of the emerging market for alternative cars. Depending on the success of alternative-drive vehicles, the demand for copper could increase even further with it’s growing usage in the automotive industry.
Copper is also an essential part of many different alloys, including universally applicable brass. Copper is, therefore, the primary element of many metal components that enable the modern world to function. The usability of copper is indeed very wide.
The most significant price threats in dealing with copper futures include mining strikes and natural disasters. The world’s largest copper producers are Australia, Chile, Canada and Indonesia. Investors in copper should carefully monitor the conditions in these countries when negotiating futures contracts and estimate possible price movements.
A unit of weight for trade in copper, like aluminum, is a pound. The usual futures contract for copper on the commodity exchange COMEX of the NYMEX New York Stock Exchange reaches £ 25,000. The smallest movement in the market, the so-called tick, for copper reaches 0.5 cents per pound. Unlike aluminum, no daily price limit is set for copper. Futures contracts for copper are negotiated at the start of each calendar month.
Production and refining of copper
The industrial production of crude copper from rich sulfide ores is carried out in a pyrometallurgical manner, which consists of the oxidative roasting of sulfide ores in which copper sulfides are converted into oxides. Alternatively, sulfate roasting can convert sulfide to sulfate, from which iron cementation eliminates copper.
Poor copper ores are usually processed by hydrometallurgical processes, which consist of leaching the ore with sulfuric acid or ferric sulfate solution. Copper passes into the leachate as copper sulfate, which is electrolytically processed or fermented with iron. Copper ores with higher iron and calcium content are treated with ammoniacal leaching with a solution of hydroxide and ammonium carbonate to produce tetraamido carbonate. From the ammoniacal extracts, ammonia is removed by boiling under reduced pressure at 100-135 ° C; copper is obtained as a raw metal or in the form of oxides.