Since prehistoric times, humans have exploited the minerals present in rocks to develop tools adapted to their needs. First used in their native forms, they were later transformed to extract the different chemical elements of which they were composed. From these elements, increasingly higher performance materials have been developed.
Today, our daily environment overflows with objects originating from mineral resources. States are thereby careful to control these resources whose exploitation is sometimes devastating for humans and their environment.
Copper has played an important role since the third millennium as it was one of the first metals to be exploited, first hammered, and then melted. Alloyed with tin, it forms bronze, which is more hard wearing. This first alloy was widely used to manufacture weapons, jewels, tools and domestic objects.