The Greeks used bronze, a mix of tin and copper, for their weapons and tools. Later, iron was used because it produced harder tools and weapons. Athens found a large amount of silver in the mines at Laurium. At its peak, Athens had over 20,000 slaves mining at Laurium. At the request of Themistocles, they used the money from these mines to pay for a large navy. This investment in the navy paid off in their development of a large trade network around the Mediterranean.
There were very good mining areas around Greece. The northern mountains of Thrace had large gold and silver deposits. Cyprus was known for its copper, gold, and iron. Laurium was known for the sliver and iron ore deposits.
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