Saturday, February 22, 2020

some news on chemical element with symbol Cu and atomic no. 29


Newmont and Teck Resources are injecting new life into their NuevaUniĆ³n 50-50 joint venture in Chile by investing $152 million into the project, located in the northern Atacama region. In an evaluation request filed with Chile’s environmental evaluation service SEA this week, the companies said they plan to conduct two drilling campaigns this year at the La Fortuna copper-gold deposit, to reduce geological uncertainty.

Shiny, reddish copper was the first metal manipulated by humans, and it remains an important metal in industry today. The oldest metal object found in the Middle East consists of copper; it was a tiny awl dating back as far as 5100 B.C. And the U.S. penny was originally made of pure copper (although, nowadays, it is 97.5 percent zinc with a thin copper skin). Copper ranks as the third-most-consumed industrial metal in the world, after iron and aluminum, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). About three-quarters of that copper goes to make electrical wires, telecommunication cables and electronics.

Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu (from Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.

Globally, Copper prices slipped on Thursday, weakened by fears that the coronavirus outbreak in China could spread globally and further dampen economic growth and metals demand. Scores of new coronavirus cases and a first death in South Korea fanned fears of global pandemic as research suggested it could be more contagious than previously thought. Copper was given an early fillip from an interest rate cut in top metals consumer China but later fell back into negative territory for a third session running, also weighed down by a stronger dollar. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) fell 0.8% to $5,727 a tonne in final open-outcry trading after rising as much as 0.8% to $5,814.

            According to Peter van der Krogt, a Dutch historian, the word "copper" has several roots, many of which come from the Latin word cuprum that was derived from the phrase Cyprium aes, which means "a metal from Cyprus," as much of the copper used at the time was mined in Cyprus. If all of the copper wiring in an average car were laid out, it would stretch 0.9 miles (1.5 km), according to the USGS.

Copper is one of the few metals that can occur in nature in a directly usable metallic form (native metals). This led to very early human use in several regions. In the Roman era, copper was principally mined on Cyprus. Commonly encountered compounds are copper(II) salts, which often impart blue or green colors to such minerals as azurite, malachite, and turquoise, and have been used widely and historically as pigments. Copper is essential to all living organisms as a trace dietary mineral because it is a key constituent of the respiratory enzyme complex cytochrome c oxidase.

Back home, Copper has caused a major stir in the lives of people of Tamil Nadu.  In 2018, during the protests against the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi, police opened fire and many protesters were killed in the incident. The shootout left many injured, and politicians and several film stars had also visited Thoothukudi and met the injured and the families of the deceased. When film actor  Rajnikant went to a hospital to look at the victims, a person named Santhosh  trolled the actor  questioning ‘Who he was?’ and the social media highlighted it to be a courageous response of an youth involved in the protests ideologically.  Rajni was trolled with people asking why he had not supported the movement.  Now comes the news that the person who tried to get focus by asking that Q has been arrested following a theft involvement.  A person named Samkumar had parked his bike before his house in Muthukrishnapuram, and it went missing. Based on his complaint, police investigated and found that three youngsters Santhosh (the one who was in news earlier), Mani and Saravanan had stolen the bike, and the bike has been recovered from them.  Now there is lot of troll on social media !

More importantly,  India’s refined copper imports more than doubled in 2018-19 to 92,290 tonnes ($605.20 million) from 44,245 tonnes ($294.95 million) in 2017-18. Export of refined copper, on the other hand, has substantially dropped to 47,971 tonnes ($302.27 million) in 2018-19 from 378,555 tonnes ($2,435.57 million) in 2017-18. So much so, the country has now become a net importer of refined copper. Today, we are a net importer at 44,373 tonnes ($302.93 million) in 2018-19. This is a far cry from the situation in 2017-18 when India was a net exporter of refined copper.  These are the numbers submitted to the Rajya Sabha by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, while fielding an unstarred question on February 7. “The domestic production and exports have declined largely due to the closure, since May 2018, of the copper smelter plant of Vedanta Ltd. at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, which has an annual production capacity of four lakh tonnes,” the minister admitted.

The numbers indeed give a status report on the bleak copper situation. From a net exporter, India has quickly slipped to become a net importer.  It is not simply a balance of trade, but a big blow to the Nation’s attempt in becoming   self-sufficient.  Some Economists state that the  trade disadvantage situation is plainly the handiwork of a thoughtless political leadership and governance across the spectrum in Tamil Nadu.  Some elements created stir against the decades old Sterilite plant – the agitations were fuelled to become big.  In the end, sadly some human lives were lost and the factory was grounded to a screeching halt.  The factory had gained official approval and later those who were in power earlier supported the agitation. The agitation took an ugly turn becoming a riot, looting and Police resorted to shooting. 

Last month (Jan 2020) Justices T.S. Sivagnanam and V. Bhavani Subbaroyan of the Madras High Court  reserved their verdict on a batch of cases filed by Vedanta Limited to reopen its Thoothukudi Sterlite copper smelting plant. The plant remains shut since April 9, 2018 after Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) refused to grant consent to operate (CTO) the plant due to environmental concerns.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd Feb 2020.

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