Small amounts of copper are found uncombined, particularly near Lake Superior in Michigan. Copper ores are found in various parts of the world. In the United States (the chief producer of copper) ores are mined in Arizona, Utah, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, and Michigan. Copper ores are also found in Canada, South America (in Chile and Peru), S central Africa, Russia (in the Ural Mts.), and to a limited extent in Europe and the British Isles.
The principal ore of copper is chalcopyrite, a sulfide of copper and iron, also called copper pyrite. Other important ores are chalcocite, or copper glance, a shiny lead-gray copper sulfide; bornite, a lustrous reddish-brown sulfide of copper and iron; cuprite, a red cuprous oxide ore; and malachite, a bright green carbonate ore. Azurite is a blue crystalline basic carbonate of copper found with other copper ores. Chrysocolla is a bluish-green copper silicate ore. Another important source of copper is secondary (scrap) copper, which is produced from discarded copper and copper alloys.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.