The rate of heat extraction during the pressure die casting process is central to both the quality and the cost of finished castings. Recent efforts to reduce the thermal resistance of dies by optimizing the effectiveness of the cooling channels have shown the potential for improvement. Reducing the thermal resistance of the coolant boundary layer means that a significant proportion of the total thermal resistance becomes attributable to the die steel. Further significant reductions in die thermal resistance can be obtained by replacing the steel with copper. This paper investigates the feasibility of using copper dies, reinforced with steel inserts and coated with a thin layer of wear resistant material, which is deposited using the thermal arc spray process. Experimental work relating to the thermal spray process has been undertaken to establish bond strengths and thermal conductivities for various process parameters. Moreover, experimental investigations have been carried out using two copper coated dies, the first of which was a pseudodie block heated by an infrared heater. The second die was tested on a die casting machine and produced zinc alloy castings at a greatly increased production rate when compared to its steel counterpart. The experimental results from the two dies are compared with those predicted by an in-house thermal-cum-stress model based on the boundary element method. Reasonable agreement between the predicted and experimental results is shown and the feasibility of copper-alloyed dies for pressure die casting is established.