Native Copper

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Copper, Native


a mineral of the class of native elements. The mineral contains Fe, Ag, Au, As, and other elements as admixtures or as solid solutions with Cu. Its crystal structure reveals a face-centered cubic lattice. Native copper occurs in plates and as porous and solid masses; crystals, complex twins, and dendrites are also found. The surface of native copper is often covered with films of green and of blue copper carbonate, copper phosphates, and the like. The mineral’s color, luster, malleability, and other properties are identical to those of metallic copper.

Native copper is usually formed in the oxidation zone of certain copper sulfide deposits in association with cuprite (Cu2O), malachite, azurite, and other minerals. Single masses of native copper can weigh as much as 400 tons. Large commercial deposits of native copper in combination with calcite, native silver, and other minerals are formed upon the action of hydrothermal solutions, volcanic vapors, and gases enriched with volatile compounds of copper on igneous rocks (diabase, melaphyre); the deposit near Lake Superior (USA) is one such example. Native copper also occurs in sedimentary rocks, primarily cupriferous sandstone and shale.

The major native copper deposits include the Tura mines (Urals) and the Dzhezkazgan deposit (Kazakh SSR) in the USSR and deposits on the Keeweenaw peninsula (Michigan) and in Arizona and Utah in the United States. Native copper is used as an ore for the extraction of copper.


Kostov, I. Mineralogiia. Moscow, 1971. (Translated from English.)
References in periodicals archive ?
Phase 2: Stronger and later overprinting mineralization events are also evident in most of the new drill holes, including widespread garnet-bearing skarns containing clots, veins, and disseminations of covellite, native copper, and bornite, with local formation of secondary chalcocite.
Like the legend of the big fish that got away, the giant slab of native copper once witnessed in the depths of the Copper-corp Mine near Sault Ste.
1%Cu from 60m in fresh rock (visual native copper in dunite).
Steinman (A and S '11G)-examined Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula because it is the largest source of pure native copper in North America.
4 million short tons of copper, mostly as native copper concentrated in the tops of basalt lava flows and within interbedded conglomerates.
In north-eastern Europe the use of native copper began soon after 4000 BC in what is today the Republic of Karelia (Russian Federation), when copper artefacts appear in find assemblages.
By the 1860s, however, the easily accessible deposits were largely gone, and mining companies turned to vastly more abundant veins (lodes) that contained small particles of native copper embedded in rock--even though these veins typically contained only about 1 to 6 percent copper.
The Wolverine mine has millions of pounds of native copper still in the ground and exploration geologists have discovered a small, but rich copper ore zone that contains silver that previous miners had overlooked.
Common burial practices, the wide distribution of such items as high-quality chert bifaces and finely crafted slate objects, and native copper and marine shell artifacts show how the Meadowood phenomenon brought several hunter-fisher-gatherer societies together.
Since then Ray has been a prolific producer of native copper specimens, as well as exceptional crystals of cuprite and large chrysocolla pseudomorphs.
The Inuit were so named because of their extensive use of artifacts made from the native copper deposits of the region.