April 3, 2014
Minerals are found in many areas of the world and some are more easily available than others. The Earth provides natural resources as necessary minerals that can be used for construction, decoration, gemstones, and many other important physical uses that improve the quality of life. There are minerals that can be found and mined in natural solid form in small or large quantities and some that are found in a mixed environment and must be refined. Much time and research has shown that some minerals may be hazardous and many minerals are crucial to a greater life on earth.
Chalcopyrite, copper, and malachite are the three main minerals used to make copper. Copper is one of the most important natural resources and an important mineral that helps improve quality of life. Copper has many uses for example; heating, cooling, refrigeration, electrical wiring, electronics, power generation, power transmission, automotive production, door hardware, roofing, antimicrobial uses and many more. The top copper mining areas in the world are Chile, USA, Peru, China and Australia. (Copper Mining and Production Wastes).
Chalcopyrite, CuFeS2, is an iron copper sulfide (ore of copper) with a tetragonal crystal system that has be found in Ontario, Canada, the Andes, South Australia (Broken Hill and American cordillera mining). It is found as brass yellow with metallic luster and greenish black streak. Hardness can range from 3.5 to 4 on the mineral moh’s scale. Mining of chalcopyrite requires digging for veins with the mineral. Heavy equipment is used to dig and drill holes around the vein of chalcopyrite. Chalcopyrite is then moved to a refinery to be crushed and smelted. The copper ore is heated in water and the copper sulfide minerals float to the top. They are then skimmed off the top, poured into molds and dried to make a solid material and then ready to be made into a variety of useful products. The Statue of Liberty is one of the world’s most famous statues that was made from copper. (The Mineral And Gemstone Kingdom Complete Guide to Rocks, Minerals, and Gemstones).
Copper, Cu, is the natural solid form of copper with an Isometric crystal system. It is found as copper red on a fresh surface, dull brown or green on a tarnished surface with metallic luster and metallic copper red streak. The natural copper is soft and malleable at 2.3-3 on moh’s mineral scale. Copper nuggets in pure state have been found in Arizona, abundant in Keweenaw Peninsula in northern Michigan, and also found in Canada, Australia, China, Namibia, Bolivia, and Russia. Copper is mined or extracted as copper sulfide in an open pit mine. Taken in large equipment to be cleaned in steam and melted dried and cooled in molds to solidify and then sent off to be used as copper products. (Understanding Minerals and Mining through Education).
Malachite, (Cu2(CO3)(OH)2, is a carbonate (minor ore of copper) with a monoclinic crystal...