It is a great source of corporate and national pride that in 2010 Hellenic Copper Mines passed into the hands of Cypriot company after so many years being controlled by overseas investors.
This pride is not surprising since Cyprus is so closely associated with copper; the name ˝copperˮ is derived from the Greek name for the island, Kupros, and in Roman times Cyprus was the main supplier of copper to the world.
For many centuries following the Roman era there was a lull in mining operations in Cyprus. However, in 1914, exploration began at Skouriotissa by the Cyprus Mines Corporation, and they worked the site until 1974 when it was taken over by Hellenic Copper Mines. The company operates from its base at Skouriotissa, and in the world’s longest continuous producing copper mine with over 4000 years history.
The majority of this copper was recovered from cast-off waste generated by previous mining activities, because in the past only the richest depostis were exploited. The economics of the situation showed that there was a viable opportunity to exploit. Hellenic Copper is also undertaking feasibility studies to assess the possibility of reopening some of the old mine workings.
At Hellenic Copper, the entire recovery process is undertaken: mining (source), heap leaching and solvent extraction (processing) and finally electrowinning (final product). The end result is pure copper plates (99.999% Cu).