Copper is a ductile, semi-precious metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. It is one of the first metals used by man. Starting around 9000 BC, copper was used for ornaments. Copper smelting and the creation of copper tools helped civilization emerge from the Stone Age around 5500 BC. The invention of bronze, an alloy of copper with tin, marked the beginning of the Bronze Age around 3000 BC.
The cultural role of copper has been important, above all in currency. Copper has also been used extensively by Renaissance sculptors and for the Statue of Liberty. Plating and sheathing ships’ hulls in copper was also widespread.
Today, copper is used in building construction, power generation and transmission, electronics, industrial machinery, and transportation. As a result, there is significant global demand for the commodity from developed nations and emerging markets.