Copper

Mining

Copper

Copper

Copper, that reddish-orange metal that has been used to benefit civilization since 8000 B.C. is one of the most important metals used by modern industry.

Prized for its ability to conduct heat and electricity, it is an element that helps facilitate the world as we know it, and is a focus of Vale’s investment.

Malleable, resistant to corrosion and high temperatures, recyclable and blessed with the best electrical and thermal conductivity of any commercial metal, copper is highly valued for its application in power transmission and generation, building wiring as well as practically all electronic equipment, including mobile phones and television sets.

  • The third metal

    Copper is the third most used metal in the world, after iron and aluminum.

  • Electrical Cables

    66% of the copper consumed every year is used in electrical applications.


 

Where?

We produce copper in Brazil, Canada and Zambia. Our operations in Brazil, located in Carajás, benefit from our pre-existing logistical infrastructure originally built to transport iron ore.

Mapa
Sossego’s Mine - Carajás - Brazil galeria de imagens

 

Everywhere

  • Statue of Liberty

    73 metric tonnes of copper sheeting were used to create the Statue of Liberty’s skin.

  • Ship hulls

    When combined with nickel, copper makes an alloy resistant to barnacles; this alloy is applied to ship hulls to reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency.

  • Trumpets, trombones, bells and cymbals

    Marrying copper with zinc produces brass, an alloy more malleable and with better acoustic properties than either of the metals alone.

  • Plumbing pipes and doorknobs

    Copper is largely employed around the home thanks to its antimicrobial properties – the better to reduce the transfer of germs.


 

Technology and Sustainability

  • Reusing water

    At our Sossego Plant in Pará, Brazil, practically 100% of the water we use to produce copper concentrate is recycled and reused from our tailings pond.

  • Technological advances in mining waste

    In partnership with the University of São Paulo in Brazil, we are working to identify "copper eating" bacteria and fungi capable of absorbing copper from our tailing dams. The research has the potential to significantly boost copper recovery from waste, revolutionizing the industry in the process.

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