Using the references below, we can estimate some datapoints to derive copper production from the Bronze age.
|Era||Copper production over the era||Cumulative production|
|Bronze age (-2000 to -700)||1 million tonnes||1 million tonnes|
|Roman era (-250 to +350)||5 million tonnes||6 million tonnes|
|From the fall of the Roman era to 1800||8 million tonnes||14 million tonnes|
|Industrial revolution (19th century)||36 million tonnes||50 million tonnes|
|20th century||412 million tonnes||462 million tonnes|
|21st century (2001 to 2021)||360 million tonnes||822 million tonnes|
Compared to the 452 million tonnes of copper in use in 2018, 759 million tonnes had ever been mined in 2018, i.e. 60% of copper that had then been mined was still in productive use.
However, one could note a strong acceleration of copper use: 60% of 452 million tonnes is also the amount of copper that has been mined over the period 1986-2018. Pretty soon, we'll have mined as much copper in the 21st century as in the previous six millennia.
This leads to important questions such as whether the copper sector is ready to support 21st century copper demand and how this can be done in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. These are questions that we'll address elsewhere in this tutorial, and which can only be answered in dialogue with local, regional and global stakeholders.
 Hong, S., J. P. Candelone, and C. C. Patterson. 1996. “History of Ancient Copper Smelting Pollution during Roman and Medieval Times Recorded in Greenland Ice.” Science. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/272/5259/246.abstract.
 Fizaine, Floriant, and Xavier Galiegue. 2021. L’économie des ressources minérales et le défi de la soutenabilité 1 - Contexte et enjeux. https://www.istegroup.com/en/produit/leconomie-des-ressources-minerales-et-le-defi-de-la-soutenabilite-1/ (checked October 21, 2021)
 Fizaine, Floriant, and Xavier Galiegue. 2021. L’économie des ressources minérales et le défi de la soutenabilité 2 - Enjeux et leviers d'action. https://www.istegroup.com/en/produit/leconomie-des-ressources-minerales-et-le-defi-de-la-soutenabilite-2/ (checked October 21, 2021)
Last update: June 17, 2022