The non-renewable copper

By Ethan Ratta

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Summary of what I've learned about copper

Copper is found in various minerals including azurite, malachite, chalocite, antite, chalcopyrite and bornite. Chile, the U.S., and Peru are the world's leading producers of copper. In the U.S., copper is produced in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. It is also found in Keweenaw Peninsula near Lake Superior, Michigan. Copper is a non-renewable resource, and yet is the most used mineral because of its resistance to corrosion. Until 1837, the U.S. penny was made with pure copper, but is now made with a copper shell (2.5%) over zinc (97.5%). It was the first element used by humans, because it was easy to find and produce. It is found in rivers and can also be mined from caves. It's also used because of its resistance to heat and electricity. Another way it is used is when mixed with other minerals or elements they make copper alloys. There are over 750 copper alloys. One common copper alloy is brass, it is used in most instruments because of its resistance to corrosion (water).

Enviromental Concerns and Issues

Pure copper, found in rivers, is not harmful to people or the environment. Even though purified copper is widely used, it is actually harmful to people and to animals around a mine. After copper is mined, but before it leaves the mine, it must be purified. The technique for purifying copper is called electrolysis. When copper is purified in the mine it releases copper sulfide, copper oxide, and sometimes even arsenic. Copper sulfide reacts with water, and produces toxic and flammable vapors. Copper oxide is less harmful, but if ingested it causes gastrointestinal irritation. However, arsenic has the acidic power to kill a human. Please see the charts below for how electrolysis happens.
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Nassuman's Three Random Facts About: Copper


Resource = a material humans, animals, and/or plants use

Non-renewable resource = a resource that is used up faster than it can be made by nature

Renewable resource = a resource that is made by nature faster than it is used

Inexhaustible resource = a resource used that never runs out; a limitless resource