Copper has been in use at least 10,000 years, but more than 95% of all copper ever mined and smelted has been extracted since 1900. Only a small part of copper reserves is economically feasible under present-day prices and technologies.

Copper-bearing ores are extracted from underground or open pit mines, then crushed, ground into powder and processed into concentrate.

The copper is used in the following industries: electronics, telecommunications, construction, machinery and transport.

The global volume of the copper industry annually reaches about 19 million tons of metal. Mining is concentrated in South America. China is the engine of growth in the production of blister and refined copper.

As populations and industries grow, so does the demand for copper. The main consumers of copper are China, Russia, EU, USA and Japan. The main determinant of the market is demand from China. Infrastructure of China still lags far behind that of developed countries, thus, to fill this gap, consumption should increase substantially in the years to come. China, Russia and Eastern Europe will dictate the demand for copper in the coming years.

Armenian mining companies produced 118 thousand tons of copper concentrate in 2010. The growth rate in comparison to the previous year amounted to 133.7%. 4 major producers exported 116 thousand tons of copper concentrate in 2010.


Zinc is the fourth most common metal in use, trailing only iron, aluminum, and copper with an annual production of about 10 million tons.

Global demand for zinc is driven mainly by its use in galvanizing, die casting and for alloy making. Demand is estimated to increase by two to three percent per year, particularly in industries such as construction, automotive and transport because of zinc’s long useful life.

Armenian mining companies produced about 14 thousand tons of zinc concentrate in 2010. This was 2.1 times higher in comparison to the previous year.


Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Lead is used in building construction, lead-acid batteries, bullets and shots, weights, as part of solders, pewters, fusible alloys and as a radiation shield.

The global annual consumption of refined lead is above 7.6 mln tons of metal.


Molybdenum – a light-gray metal used in steel alloys, as a component of heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant alloys. Molybdenum is used in the production of   molybdenum-containing nonmetallurgical and high-tech metallurgical products, which improves their heat resistance, wear resistance, corrosion resistance and ability to withstand high pressure. Stainless steel sector is gradually switching to production of special grades of metal with higher molybdenum content. The use of molybdenum as a catalyst for purification of oil is growing, which is due to the growing demand for low-sulfur gasoline.

Large market for molybdenum is nuclear power engineering, where a transition is being made to production of  more durable (made of molybdenum steel) pipes for the refrigerants and for new reactors. Molybdenum alloys are used for  manufacturing of aerospace tools and components.

Economics of molybdenum production is increasingly being viewed “by itself” and not as a byproduct. This will lead to an increase in molybdenum business related securities, as well as investors’ interest in the field. Chinese manufacturers are increasingly inclined to produce value added products; the country took a steady  trend toward urbanization, investment needs are enormous. The demand for molybdenum in the Chinese market can provide a base for growth in prices in the future.

The global production of molybdenum is about 220 thous tons of metal per annum.

Armenian mining companies produced 8.5 thous tons of molybdenum concentrate in 2010. Armenian molybdenum concentrate is  processed mainly in local enterprises. 300 tons of molybdenum concentrate and 469 tons of metal and molybdenum scrap were exported from Armenia in 2010.


Gold is present almost everywhere – in the earth’s crust, seas and rivers, however it is difficult and expensive to get. To obtain one ounce of gold, it is necessary to process from two and a half to three tons of ore. The gold content in the crust is very low – 3 mg / kg, but there are numerous deposits rich in metal.

Global production of gold reaches 2.4 thous. tons per annum. The most important industrial use of gold is in the manufacture of electronics and computers. Gold is used in connectors, switch and relay contacts, soldered joints, connecting wires and connection strips. Gold is also used in aerospace, glassmaking, gold gliding and gold leaf.

Most of the ways that gold is used today have been developed only during the last two or three decades. This trend will likely continue. As our society requires more sophisticated and reliable materials our uses for gold will increase. This combination of growing demand, few substitutes and limited supply will cause the value and importance of gold to increase steadily over time.