Block of the Week: Copper Ore
Do you dig it?
If you’re reading this, you’re probably aware that a new Minecraft update is just around the corner. If not, THERE'S AN UPDATE AROUND THE CORNER! Head over here to get the lowdown. The first part of the Caves and Cliffs update will include new mobs, new items (like the amethyst shard), and new blocks – and it just so happens we’re going deep on one of those for you today. Meet the copper ore block.
Copper is the first new ore to be added to Minecraft in a long time, since the addition of Nether Quartz ore in the Redstone update in 2013. It comes in two variants – a regular one found in stone, and a rarer version found in deepslate, close to the bottom of the world.
Want some? Grab a pick and go mining – but don’t dig too deep. Veins of copper ore are most commonly found at medium depths, not too close to the surface, but not too far down either. Oh, and don’t worry – you won’t need fancy tools to mine it. A stone pickaxe will do just fine.
Unlike other ores, like iron, the block itself won’t drop when you mine it (unless you’re using a silk touch pick). Instead, you’ll get a few chunks of raw copper, each of which can be smelted into a copper ingot. That’s nice, because you get a little more copper per ore block you find than you would with iron. Don’t say we don’t do anything nice for you. You can also craft the raw copper into raw copper blocks.
In the real world, there are many different kinds of copper ore – from cuprite, which contains 88% copper, to chalcopyrite, which is just 35% copper. Humans have been mining copper for almost ten thousand years, with the earliest evidence of excavation found in locations in modern-day Turkey and Iraq.
Did you know that before the Iron Age, and before the Bronze Age, there was a Copper Age? Or, as archaeologists call it, the “Chalcolithic”. It happened at different times in different parts of the world, but broadly dates from around 5000 to 3000 BC, when humans discovered that copper could be combined with tin and other metals to form a much stronger substance called bronze.
Today, it’s increasingly difficult to mine copper because so much has already been extracted. The average amount of copper found in a copper mine today is just 0.6% of the rock, compared to more than 25% in Australia in the middle of the 1800s. Mining companies have to apply all kinds of processing steps to get useful copper out in a way that’s still profitable.
Luckily, there are no such problems in Minecraft. With copper ore just having been added to the game there’s plenty for everyone. So pull out your pickaxe, head down a mine, and see what you can find.