Copper

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DEFINITION of 'Copper'

One of the first metals extracted and used by humans, and among the most widely used metals in modern civilization. Copper is ductile, malleable and an excellent conductor of heat and electricity - these properties make it indispensable for numerous consumer, industrial and technology applications. It also combines well with other metals to form widely-used alloys such as brass and bronze. Copper is considered a base metal as it oxidizes relatively easily. It has the symbol Cu and the atomic number of 29 in the periodic table.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Copper'

Copper has been instrumental in shaping human history. It was first used in coins and ornaments from about 8,000 B.C., and the discovery that it could be alloyed with tin to produce bronze ushered in the Bronze Age from approximately 3,000 B.C.


The rapid growth of developing nations such as China and India has significantly boosted global demand for copper in recent decades. The Andean region of South America is a prolific region for copper production globally, led by Chile, the world's biggest copper producer as of 2011.

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RELATED FAQS
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    Traders roll over futures contracts to switch from the front month contract that is close to expiration to another contract ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What does a futures contract cost?

    The value of a futures contract is derived from the cash value of the underlying asset. While a futures contract may have ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How can electricity be traded as a commodity by an individual investor?

    Electricity can be traded in the financial marketplace like any other commodity. Electricity futures trading offers an alternative ... Read Full Answer >>
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