Environment

Copper

and the Environment

Copper is a naturally-occurring element present in the earth’s crust, oceans, lakes and rivers, from minute trace element levels through to rich mine deposits.

It is an essential nutrient—plants, fish, animals and humans all need copper to function properly.

Did you know that the average percentage of copper in the earth’s crust is 0.005%?

Copper is present in the earth’s crust, in oceans, lakes and rivers, from minute trace element levels through to rich mine deposits.

Copper is found naturally in all waters, sediments and soils. It is a versatile material which is fully recyclable, corrosion resistant and durable. Copper is not carcinogenic, mutagenic or a reproductive toxicant, and under normal conditions of use, it does not cause any environmental harm in terms of being bio accumulative or toxic.

Copper is needed for maintaining and growing life, be this for humans, animals or plants. In humans, it is key to the foetus during pregnancy, to healthy brain function throughout life, and to the repair of wounds and injuries. The human body does not manufacture copper, so it needs to be obtained from food and water. Copper deficiency—which means consuming too little dietary copper—can lead to a range of serious diseases ranging from blood and blood vessel irregularities to abnormal bone formations and hypopigmentation of the skin.

If soil contains insufficient levels of copper, it cannot sustain productive arable farming. The world’s two most important food crops—rice and wheat—will not thrive in copper-deficient soil, leading to losses in yield and lower-quality outputs.

Copper is an essential material in building the energy systems of the future. It plays an important role in renewable energy systems, such as solar, wind, tidal, hydro, biomass, and geothermal. Copper is the most highly-rated thermal and electrical conductor among the metals used in infrastructure and product design. Power systems utilising copper generate, transmit and use energy with higher efficiency, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions and optimising lifecycle costs.

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