Copper is a chemical element, typically found as a solid in its elemental form. It has the chemical symbol Cu (from the Latin cuprum), atomic number (number of protons) Z = 29, and a standard atomic weight of 63.546 g/mol.
It is a naturally occurring mineral, mainly be found as copper ore in large deposits relatively close to the earth's surface. The abundance of copper ore and its availability have meant that the copper has been one of humanity's most useful metals.
Copper has such properties as malleability and ductility, meaning it is easy to mould. The use of copper by humans in creating tools marked the beginning of the Bronze Age. It is also a good conductor of electricity, and is used for electrical transmission wires. Another major industrial use of copper is in construction. Alloys of copper such as brass and bronze are used in jewelry-making and coins.
Copper, found as a pure metal, is relatively rare in nature. It is usually found in compounds such as azurite, bornite and malachite, in sulfides such as chalcopyrite (CuFeS2), coveline (CuS), chalcosine (Cu2S) or oxides like cuprite (Cu2O). Copper is extracted from these compounds by smelting, leaching and by electrolysis.