World’s oldest copper mine hits production milestone

Cyprus Mail reports the world’s oldest producing copper mine has passed 50,000 tonnes of the red metal.

The mine at Skouriotissa, owned by Cypriot company Hellenic Copper Mines, has been worked since the Bronze Age:

“Copper was used for the first time on the island in the Chalcolithic Age from 4000BC to 2500BC, which has has since been known for its copper resources. The discovery of rich copper-bearing ores on the north slope of the Troodos mountains led to the mining of Cyprus’ rich mineral resources in the Bronze Age at sites such as Ambelikou-Aletri.”

Cyprus Mail reports the mine was restarted in 1996 with a  new process of hydrometallurgy which uses water to separate the metal from the copper ore.

The mine is small in comparison to the world’s largest copper operations.

Kennecott ‘s Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah has unearthed about 18.7 million tonnes- the most of any mine in history according to the company. The Escondida copper mine in Chile, jointly owned by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, contains the world’s largest supply of copper ( 4.1 billion tonnes of ore reserves containing 31.5 million tonnes copper, and mineral resources of 4.6 billion tonnes). The next largest copper mine is Freeport McMoRan’s Grasberg copper-gold mine in Indonesia, which contains the world’s largest  recoverable copper reserve and the largest gold reserve.

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