Another industrially vital base metal is copper. Copper (and its alloys) have various uses; it is principally used as an electrical conductor in wires and cables, and also finds use in roofing and plumbing. Brass, a copper and zinc alloy, is used widely for musical instruments. In 2012, copper mine production amounted to more than 16 million metric tons worldwide, with Chile producing over 5.4 million tons of copper that year. Chile is also home to the world’s largest producing copper company: Codelco (Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile. In 2016, the Chilean company Codelco produced over 1.8 million metric tons of copper.
Zinc sees many end uses, including galvanizing and chemical production, and is key in the production of brass and bronze. Zinc mine production is attributed in great part to China: In 2015, the country’s mines produced approximately 4.9 million metric tons of zinc. That year, global zinc consumption amounted to over 13.8 million metric tons in total.