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Copper in health
 Where does copper come from? 
In nature, metals are usually found in compounds (usually combined with oxygen or sulphur). These compounds are mixed up in rocks or minerals called ores.

A lump of copper ore
Picture 2. A lump of copper ore.

What is an ore?
An ore is a rock that has enough metal in it to make it worth extracting the metal.
The main ores of copper are:
  • Chalcopyrite
  • Bornite
  • Malachite

Over 50% of the World's copper comes from chalcopyrite and bornite.

Photo of native copper
Picture 3. Photo of a lump of native copper.
Native copper
Copper is an unreactive metal - it reacts only slowly with the atmosphere. This means that huge lumps of copper metal are found buried in the ground as nuggets. This is called native copper. The largest nugget of native copper ever found came from Minnesota, USA and weighed over 400 tonnes. Native copper isn't mined because there is so little of it. Therefore it is of little commercial importance.

Question 1    
Look at the minerals below. Each one is shown with its chemical formula.Use a periodic table to find out which elements each one contains. Check the boxes that show the right elements.
mineral calcium carbon chlorine copper hydrogen iron oxygen silicon sulphur tin zinc
Chalcopyrite
CuFeS2
Malachite
CuCO3Cu(OH)2
Chrysocolla
CuSiO3.2H2O
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