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Copper fact sheet

Year Level(s) Years 3-6 Years 7-10
Subject Area(s) Geography Science SOSE General Science Chemistry Earth & Environmental Science
Topic(s) Environment Geology / Mineral Formation Mining Rocks & Minerals Underground Mining Minerals Processing Smelting & Refining
Resource Type Fact Sheet

Copper is a metal which is mined from the earth and used for a number of different purposes. It was formed as a result of volcanic activity which resulted in large masses of molten rock and hot water cooling and then solidifying into copper compounds. This fact sheet provides information about copper and its extraction. It describes the properties and uses of copper, formation of copper ore bodies, mining and processing, and the management of associated environmental impacts.

Educational value statement

  • Includes descriptions of both underground and open-cut mining
  • Explains concentration of the ore by froth flotation, as well smelting and refining of copper metal.
  • Relates the properties of copper to its uses
  • Includes some representative statistics about copper in Australia
  • Includes a table listing environmental impacts of copper production and describing how each impact is managed.
  • Can be downloaded as a PDF or MS Word file.

Key learning objectives

  • Students explain how the uses of copper are influenced by its properties
  • Students describe the processes involved in the extraction of copper from its ores
  • Students list some environmental impacts of copper extraction and explain how they can be managed.


  • Science Understanding: Chemical sciences; Earth and space sciences
  • Science as a Human Endeavour: Use and influence of science

Australian Curriculum content statements

Science: ACSSU113 (7); ACSSU153 (8); ACSSU074 (4)

Copper fact sheet - word version

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    516 KB

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