Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula is the most important locality in the world for pure native copper. Small amounts occur in several areas throughout the world. Mining operations began in 1845 and continued until 1968. During that time over 5 million tons of refined copper were received from Michigan's native copper mines. Near the turn of the century, Michigan led the world in copper productions and "Lake Copper" was the purity standard.
The copper occurs in various rock types and ranges in size from microscopic grains to large masses. The largest discovered in 1857, weighed about 520 tons.
Copper is one of the oldest metals ever used and has been one of the important materials in the development of civilization. Because of its properties, singularly or in combination, of high ductility, malleability, and thermal and electrical conductivity, and its resistance to corrosion, copper has become a major industrial metal, ranking third after iron and aluminum in terms of quantities consumed.
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