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ore –
psilomelane Psilomelane is a group name for hard black manganese oxides including hollandite and romanechite. Psilomelane consists of hydrous manganese Manganese is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic ta ...
(size: 6.7 × 5.8 × 5.1 cm) ore –
galena Galena, also called lead glance, is the natural mineral form of lead(II) sulfide (PbS). It is the most important ore of lead Lead is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Pb (from the Latin ) and atomic number 82. It is a he ...

galena
and
anglesite Anglesite is a lead sulfate mineral with the chemical formula PbSO4. It occurs as an oxidation product of primary lead sulfide ore, galena. Anglesite occurs as prismatic orthorhombic crystals and earthy masses, and is isomorphous with barite and Ce ...
(size: 4.8 × 4.0 × 3.0 cm) ore (size: 7.5 × 6.1 × 4.1 cm) File:OreCartPachuca.JPG, upMinecart on display at the Historic Archive and Museum of Mining in Pachuca, Mexico Ore is natural Rock (geology), rock or sediment that contains one or more valuable minerals, typically containing metals, that can be mined, treated and sold at a profit.Encyclopædia Britannica. "Ore". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 7 April 2021Neuendorf, K.K.E., Mehl, J.P., Jr., and Jackson, J.A., eds., 2011, Glossary of Geology: American Geological Institute, 799 p. Ore is extracted from the earth through
mining Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the Earth, usually from an ore body, lode, vein, seam, reef, or placer deposit. These deposits form a mineralized commodity that is of economic interest to t ...

mining
and treated or refined, often via
smelting Smelting is a process of applying heat to ore ore – psilomelane (size: 6.7 × 5.8 × 5.1 cm) ore – galena and anglesite (size: 4.8 × 4.0 × 3.0 cm) ore (size: 7.5 × 6.1 × 4.1 cm) File:OreCartPachuca.JPG, upMinecart on ...
, to extract the valuable metals or minerals. The ''grade'' of ore refers to the concentration of the desired material it contains. The value of the metals or minerals a rock contains must be weighed against the cost of extraction to determine whether it is of sufficiently high grade to be worth mining, and is therefore considered an ore. Minerals of interest are generally
oxides of rutile Rutile is a mineral composed primarily of titanium dioxide (TiO2), and is the most common natural form of TiO2. Other rarer polymorphs of TiO2 are known, including anatase, akaogiite, and brookite. Rutile has one of the highest re ...
,
sulfides Sulfide (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, whi ...
,
silicates In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they unde ...
, or
native metal A native metal is any metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and conducts Electrical res ...
s such as
copper Copper is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same nu ...

copper
or
gold Gold is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Au (from la, aurum) and atomic number 79, making it one of the higher atomic number elements that occur naturally. In a pure form, it is a brightness, bright, slightly reddish yel ...

gold
. Ores must be processed to extract the elements of interest from the waste rock. Ore bodies are formed by a variety of
geological Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which th ...

geological
processes generally referred to as
ore genesis Various theories of ore genesis explain how the various types of mineral deposit ore – psilomelane (size: 6.7 × 5.8 × 5.1 cm) ore – galena and anglesite (size: 4.8 × 4.0 × 3.0 cm) ore (size: 7.5 × 6.1 × 4.1 cm) File ...
.


Ore, gangue, ore minerals, gangue minerals

In most cases, an ore does not consist entirely of a single ore mineral but it is mixed with other valuable minerals and with unwanted or valueless rocks and minerals. The part of an ore that is not economically desirable and that can not be avoided in mining is known as
gangue In mining, gangue () is the commercially worthless material that surrounds, or is closely mixed with, a wanted mineral in an ore deposit. It is thus distinct from overburden, which is the waste rock or materials overlying an ore or mineral body ...
. The valuable ore minerals are separated from the gangue minerals by
froth flotation of the froth surface. Froth flotation is a process for selectively separating hydrophobic In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, m ...
, gravity concentration, and other operations known collectively as
mineral processing In the field of extractive metallurgy Extractive metallurgy is a branch of metallurgical engineering Metallurgy is a domain of materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metal A metal (from Anc ...
or
ore dressing In the field of extractive metallurgy, mineral processing, also known as ore dressing, is the process of separating commercially valuable minerals from their ores. History Before the advent of heavy machinery the raw ore was broken up using h ...
.


Ore deposits

An ore deposit is an economically significant accumulation of minerals within a host rock. This is distinct from a mineral resource as defined by the mineral resource classification criteria. An ore deposit is one occurrence of a particular ore type. Most ore deposits are named according to their location, or after a discoverer (e.g. the
Kambalda Kambalda is a small mining town about from the mining city of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, within the Goldfields-Esperance, Goldfields. It is split into two townsites apart, Kambalda East and Kambalda West; and is located on the western edge ...
nickel shoots are named after drillers), or after some whimsy, a historical figure, a prominent person, a city or town from which the owner came, something from mythology (such as the name of a god or goddess) or the code name of the resource company which found it (e.g. MKD-5 was the in-house name for the Mount Keith nickel sulphide deposit).


Classification

Ore deposits are classified according to various criteria developed via the study of economic geology, or
ore genesis Various theories of ore genesis explain how the various types of mineral deposit ore – psilomelane (size: 6.7 × 5.8 × 5.1 cm) ore – galena and anglesite (size: 4.8 × 4.0 × 3.0 cm) ore (size: 7.5 × 6.1 × 4.1 cm) File ...
. The classifications below are typical.


Hydrothermal epigenetic deposits

* ''Mesothermal''
lode In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it is composed, and the process ...
gold deposits, typified by the Golden Mile,
Kalgoorlie Kalgoorlie is a city in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a States and territories of Australia, state occupying the western percent of the land area of Australia excluding externa ...

Kalgoorlie
*
conglomerate Conglomerate or conglomeration may refer to: * Conglomerate (company) * Conglomerate (geology) * Conglomerate (mathematics) In popular culture: * The Conglomerate (American group), a production crew and musical group founded by Busta Rhymes ** Con ...
hosted gold-uranium deposits, typified by those at
Elliot Lake Elliot Lake is a city in Algoma District, Ontario , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , coordinates ...

Elliot Lake
, Ontario, Canada and
Witwatersrand The Witwatersrand () (locally the Rand or, less commonly, the Reef) is a , north-facing scarp in South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of So ...

Witwatersrand
,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 59 million people, it is the world's List of countries by population, 23rd-most populous nation a ...

South Africa
*
Carlin–type gold deposit Goldstrike mine, Goldstrike (Post–Betze) Mine, Carlin Trend, Nevada, the largest Carlin-type deposit in the world, containing more than 35,000,000 ounces of gold. Carlin–type gold deposits are sediment-hosted disseminated gold deposits. Th ...
s, including; * ''Epithermal'' stockwork vein deposits


Granite related hydrothermal

* IOCG or iron oxide copper gold deposits, typified by the supergiant Olympic Dam Cu-Au-U deposit *
Porphyry copper Bingham Canyon mine in 2005. The gray rocks visible in the pit are almost all in the primary-sulfide ore zone. Porphyry copper deposits are copper Copper is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cu (from la, cuprum) and at ...
+/- gold +/- molybdenum +/- silver deposits * Intrusive-related copper-gold +/- (tin-tungsten), typified by the
Tombstone, Arizona Tombstone is a historic city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States, founded in 1877 by prospector Ed Schieffelin in what was then Pima County, Arizona, Pima County, Arizona Territory. It became one of the last boomtowns in the American f ...

Tombstone, Arizona
deposits * Hydromagmatic
magnetite Magnetite is a mineral and one of the main iron ore Iron ores are rocks and minerals from which metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, po ...

magnetite
iron ore deposits and skarns *
Skarn Skarns or tactites are hard, coarse-grained metamorphic rocks that form by a process called metasomatism Metasomatism (from the Greek μετά (change) and σῶμα (body)) is the chemical alteration of a rock by hydrothermal and other fluids. ...

Skarn
ore deposits of copper, lead, zinc, tungsten, etcetera


Magmatic deposits

* Magmatic nickel-copper-iron-PGE deposits including **
Cumulate Cumulate rocks are igneous rocks formed by the accumulation of crystals from a magma either by settling or floating. Cumulate rocks are named according to their rock microstructure, texture; cumulate texture is diagnostic of the conditions of forma ...
or platinum-bearing
magnetite Magnetite is a mineral and one of the main iron ore Iron ores are rocks and minerals from which metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, po ...

magnetite
or
chromite Chromite is a crystalline mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in ...

chromite
** Cumulate hard-rock titanium (
ilmenite Crystal structure of ilmenite Ilmenite, also known as manaccanite, is a titanium-iron oxide mineral with the idealized formula . It is a weakly magnetic black or steel-gray solid. From a commercial perspective, ilmenite is the most important o ...
) deposits ** Komatiite hosted Ni-Cu-PGE deposits ** Subvolcanic feeder subtype, typified by and the Thompson Belt, Canada ** Intrusive-related Ni-Cu-PGE, typified by
Voisey's Bay Voisey's Bay is a bay of the Atlantic Ocean in Labrador, Canada. The bay is located south of the community of Nain, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nain. The bay is heavily indented with numerous inlets and islands and is extremely rocky. It is the s ...
, Canada and Jinchuan, China * Lateritic nickel ore deposits, examples include Goro and Acoje, (
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republik ...

Philippines
) and Ravensthorpe,
Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a States and territories of Australia, state occupying the western percent of the land area of Australia excluding external territories. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, and the So ...

Western Australia
.


Volcanic-related deposits

* Volcanic hosted massive sulfide (VHMS) Cu–Pb–Zn including; ** Examples include Teutonic Bore and Golden Grove, Western Australia *** Besshi type *** Kuroko type


Metamorphically reworked deposits

* Podiform serpentinite-hosted paramagmatic
iron oxide Iron oxides are chemical compounds composed of iron and oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of the chalcogen Group (periodic table), group in the periodic table, ...

iron oxide
-
chromite Chromite is a crystalline mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in ...

chromite
deposits, typified by
Savage River, Tasmania Savage River is a small Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerou ...
iron ore, Coobina chromite deposit * Broken Hill Type Pb–Zn–Ag, considered to be a class of reworked SEDEX deposits


Carbonatite-alkaline igneous related

* Phosphorus-
tantalite The mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it is composed, a ...

tantalite
-
vermiculite Vermiculite is a hydrous phyllosilicate mineral which undergoes significant expansion when heated. Exfoliation occurs when the mineral is heated sufficiently, and commercial furnaces can routinely produce this effect. Vermiculite forms by the we ...
(
Phalaborwa Phalaborwa (translated to English as ''better than the south; phala'' means ''better than and borwa'' means ''south'') is a town in the Mopani District Municipality Mopani is one of the 5 Districts of South Africa, districts of Limpopo province of ...

Phalaborwa
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 59 million people, it is the world's List of countries by population, 23rd-most populous nation a ...

South Africa
) *
Rare-earth elements The rare-earth elements, also called the rare-earth metals or (in context) rare-earth oxides, or the lanthanide The lanthanide () or lanthanoid () series of chemical elements comprises the 15 metallic chemical element Image:Simple Period ...
 – Mount Weld,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, smal ...

Australia
and
Bayan Obo Bayan'obo Mining District, ( Mongolian: ''Bayan Oboɣ-a Aɣurqai-yin toɣoriɣ'', Баян-Овоо Уурхайн тойрог ( mn, italic=yes, "rich" + ovoo); ), or Baiyun-Obo or Baiyun'ebo, is a mining town in the west of Inner Mongolia ...

Bayan Obo
,
Mongolia Mongolia (, mn, Монгол Улс, Mongol Uls, Traditional Mongolian: '; lit. "Mongol Nation" or "State of Mongolia") is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body ...

Mongolia
*
Diatreme A diatreme, sometimes known as a maar-diatreme volcano, is a volcanic pipe Volcanic pipes or volcanic conduits are subterranean geological Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "d ...
hosted diamond in
kimberlite Cross-section of kimberlite from South Africa. The kimberlite matrix is made up of clay minerals and carbonates, presented in blue, purple and buff colours. Kimberlite is an igneous rock, which sometimes contains diamonds. It is named after the ...

kimberlite
,
lamproite Lamproite is an ultrapotassic mantle-derived volcanic A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. Abou ...
or
lamprophyre Lamprophyres (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million a ...


Sedimentary deposits

*
Banded iron formation showing banded iron formation, displayed in Dresden, Saxony, Germany Banded iron formations (also known as banded ironstone formations or BIFs) are distinctive units of sedimentary rock consisting of alternating layers of iron oxides and iro ...

Banded iron formation
iron ore Iron ores are rocks A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound, chemical composition and the way in which it is formed. Rock ...
deposits, including **
Channel-iron depositsChannel iron deposits (CID) are iron-rich fluvial sedimentary deposits of possible Miocene age occupying meandering palaeochannels in the Early to Mid-Cenozoic Hamerlsey palaeosurface of Western Australia. Examples are also known from Kazakhstan. Th ...
or
pisolite QEMSCAN mineral map of pisoids A pisolite is a sedimentary rock made of pisoids, which are concretionary grains – typically of calcium carbonate which resemble ooids, but are more than 2 mm in diameter. These grains are approximately sph ...
type iron ore *
Heavy mineral sands ore deposits Heavy may refer to: Measures * Heavy (aeronautics), a term used by pilots and air traffic controllers to refer to aircraft capable of 300,000 lbs or more takeoff weight * Heavy, a characterization of objects with substantial weight In scien ...
and other
sand dune A dune is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body. Landforms together make up a given terrain, and their arrangement in the landscape is known as topography. Land ...

sand dune
hosted deposits *
Alluvial Alluvium (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
gold, diamond, tin, platinum or
black sand Black sand beach in Waianapanapa Park, Hawaii Black sand is sand that is black in color. One type of black sand is a heavy, glossy, partly magnetic mixture of usually fine sands containing minerals such as magnetite, found as part of a placer d ...
deposits * Alluvial oxide zinc deposit type: sole example Skorpion Zinc


Hydrothermal deposits formed largely from basinal brines

Hydrothermal deposits formed by basinal saline fluids, include the following main groups: Arndt, N. and others (2017) Future mineral resources, Chap. 2, Formation of mineral resources,
Geochemical Perspectives, v6-1, p. 18-51
* Clastic hosted or SEDEX
Lead Lead is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Pb (from the Latin ) and atomic number 82. It is a heavy metals, heavy metal that is density, denser than most common materials. Lead is Mohs scale of mineral hardness#Intermediate h ...

Lead
-
zinc Zinc is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbe ...

zinc
-
silver Silver is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same n ...

silver
deposits. They are typified, among others, by Red Dog,
McArthur River The McArthur River is a river in the Northern Territory of Australia which flows into the Gulf of Carpentaria at Port McArthur, opposite the Sir Edward Pellew Group of Islands. The river was named by Ludwig Leichhardt while he explored the area ...
,
Mount Isa Mount Isa ( ) is a city in the Gulf Country region of Queensland, Australia. It came into existence because of the vast mineral deposits found in the area. Mount Isa Mines (MIM) is one of the most productive single mines in world history, based ...
,
Rammelsberg The Rammelsberg is a mountain, high, on the northern edge of the Harz The Harz () is a Mittelgebirge, highland area in northern Germany. It has the highest elevations for that region, and its rugged terrain extends across parts of Lower Saxony, ...

Rammelsberg
.Leach, D. and others (2010) Sediment-hosted lead-zinc deposits in Earth history. Economic Geology, v. 105, p. 593-625. * Mississippi valley type (MVT) zinc-lead deposits * Sediment-hosted stratiform Cu-Co-(Ag) deposit, typified by the
Copperbelt The Copperbelt is a natural region in Central Africa which sits on the border region between northern Zambia and the southern Democratic Republic of Congo. It is known for copper mining. Traditionally, the term ''Copperbelt'' includes the mining ...

Copperbelt
of
Zambia Zambia (), officially the Republic of Zambia (Bemba language, Bemba:'' Icalo ca Zambia''; Tonga language (Zambia and Zimbabwe), Tonga: ''Cisi ca Zambia''; Lozi language, Lozi: ''Naha ya Zambia''; Chewa language, Nyanja: ''Dziko la Zambia''), ...

Zambia
and .Sillitoe, R.H., Perello, J., Creaser, R.A., Wilton, J., Wilson, A.J., and Dawborn, T., 2017, Reply to discussions of “Age of the Zambian Copperbelt” by Hitzman and Broughton and Muchez et al.:, p. 1–5, doi: 10.1007/s00126-017-0769-x.


Astrobleme-related ores

*
Sudbury Basin The Sudbury Basin (), also known as Sudbury Structure or the Sudbury Nickel Irruptive, is a major geological Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science ...
nickel and copper, Ontario, Canada


Extraction

The basic extraction of ore deposits follows these steps: #
Prospecting Prospecting is the first stage of the geological analysis (followed by exploration Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it ...
or
exploration Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery Discovery may refer to: * Discovery (observation) Discovery is the act of detecting something new, or something previously unrecognized as meaningful. With reference to scienc ...
to find and then define the extent and value of ore where it is located ("ore body"). # Conduct resource estimation to mathematically estimate the size and grade of the deposit. # Conduct a pre-feasibility study to determine the theoretical economics of the ore deposit. This identifies, early on, whether further investment in estimation and engineering studies is warranted and identifies key risks and areas for further work. # Conduct a
feasibility study A feasibility study is an assessment of the practicality of a proposed project or system. A feasibility study aims to objectively and rationally uncover the strengths and weaknesses of an existing business or proposed venture, opportunities and thr ...
to evaluate the financial viability, technical and financial risks and robustness of the project and make a decision as whether to develop or walk away from a proposed mine project. This includes mine planning to evaluate the economically recoverable portion of the deposit, the
metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of Materials science, materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic Chemical element, elements, their Inter-metallic alloy, inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which ...
and ore recoverability, marketability and payability of the ore concentrates, engineering, milling and infrastructure costs, finance and equity requirements and a cradle to grave analysis of the possible mine, from the initial excavation all the way through to reclamation. # Development of access to an ore body and building of mine plant and equipment. # The operation of the mine in an active sense. # Reclamation to make land where a mine had been suitable for future use.


Trade

Ores (metals) are traded internationally and comprise a sizeable portion of international trade in
raw materials A raw material, also known as a feedstock, unprocessed material, or primary commodity, is a basic material that is used to produce goods, finished Product (business), products, energy, or intermediate materials that are feedstock for future finish ...
both in value and volume. This is because the worldwide distribution of ores is unequal and dislocated from locations of peak demand and from smelting infrastructure. Most base metals (copper, lead, zinc, nickel) are traded internationally on the
London Metal Exchange The London Metal Exchange (LME) is the futures exchange with the world's largest market in options and futures contract In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financial sy ...
, with smaller stockpiles and metals exchanges monitored by the and
NYMEX The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) is a commodity In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), di ...
exchanges in the United States and the Shanghai Futures Exchange in China. Iron ore is traded between customer and producer, though various benchmark prices are set quarterly between the major mining conglomerates and the major consumers, and this sets the stage for smaller participants. Other, lesser, commodities do not have international clearing houses and benchmark prices, with most prices negotiated between suppliers and customers one-on-one. This generally makes determining the price of ores of this nature opaque and difficult. Such metals include
lithium Lithium (from el, λίθος, lithos, lit=stone) is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consist ...

lithium
,
niobium Niobium, also known as columbium, is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Nb (formerly Cb) and atomic number 41. Niobium is a light grey, crystalline, and ductile transition metal. Pure niobium has a Mohs scale of mineral hard ...

niobium
-
tantalum Tantalum is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numb ...

tantalum
,
bismuth Bismuth is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbe ...

bismuth
,
antimony Antimony is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same ...

antimony
and
rare earths The rare-earth elements (REE), also called the rare-earth metals or (in context) rare-earth oxides, or the lanthanide The lanthanide () or lanthanoid () series of chemical elements comprises the 15 metallic chemical element Image:Simple ...
. Most of these commodities are also dominated by one or two major suppliers with >60% of the world's reserves. The London Metal Exchange aims to add uranium to its list of metals on warrant. The
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its ow ...
reports that China was the top importer of ores and metals in 2005 followed by the US and Japan.


Important ore minerals

*
Acanthite Acanthite is a form of silver sulfide with the chemical formula Ag2S. It crystallizes in the monoclinic system and is the stable form of silver sulfide below . Argentite is the stable form above that temperature. As argentite cools below that temp ...

Acanthite
(cooled polymorph of
Argentite The unit cell of argentite In mineralogy Mineralogy is a subject of geology specializing in the scientific study of the chemistry, crystal structure, and physical (including optical mineralogy, optical) properties of minerals and mineralized arti ...

Argentite
): Ag2S for production of
silver Silver is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same n ...

silver
*
Barite Baryte, barite or barytes (, ) is a mineral consisting of barium sulfate ( Ba S O4). Baryte is generally white or color Color ( American English), or colour ( Commonwealth English), is the characteristic of visual perception described thro ...

Barite
: BaSO4 *
Bauxite Bauxite is a sedimentary rock Sedimentary rocks are types of rock (geology), rock that are formed by the accumulation or deposition of mineral or organic matter, organic particles at Earth#Surface, Earth's surface, followed by cementation (ge ...

Bauxite
Al(OH)3 and AlOOH, dried to Al2O3 for production of
aluminium Aluminium (aluminum in American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the Unit ...

aluminium
*
Beryl Beryl ( ) is a mineral composed of beryllium Beryllium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Be and atomic number 4. It is a Abundance of the chemical elements#Universe, relatively rare element in the universe, usually ...

Beryl
: Be3Al2(SiO3)6 *
Bornite Bornite, also known as peacock ore, is a sulfide mineral with chemical composition Cu5FeS4 that crystallizes in the orthorhombic system (pseudo-cubic). Appearance left, Tarnish of bornite Bornite has a brown to copper-red color on fresh surface ...

Bornite
: Cu5FeS4 *
Cassiterite Cassiterite is a tin Tin is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all ...

Cassiterite
: SnO2 *
Chalcocite Chalcocite (), copper(I) sulfide (Cu2S), is an important copper Copper is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cu (from la, cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductility, ductile metal with very high ...

Chalcocite
: Cu2S for production of
copper Copper is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same nu ...

copper
*
Chalcopyrite Chalcopyrite ( ) is a copper Copper is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cu (from la, cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductility, ductile metal with very high thermal conductivity, thermal and e ...

Chalcopyrite
: CuFeS2 *
Chromite Chromite is a crystalline mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in ...

Chromite
: (Fe, Mg)Cr2O4 for production of
chromium Chromium is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same nu ...

chromium
*
Cinnabar Cinnabar () or cinnabarite (), likely deriving from the grc, κιννάβαρι (), is the bright scarlet to brick-red form of mercury(II) sulfide (HgS). It is the most common source ore for refining elemental mercury, and is the historic sou ...

Cinnabar
: HgS for production of
mercury Mercury usually refers to: * Mercury (planet) Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the Sun. Its orbit around the Sun takes 87.97 Earth days, the shortest of all the Sun's planets. It is named after the Roman g ...

mercury
*
Cobaltite Cobaltite is a sulfide Sulfide (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, ear ...

Cobaltite
: (Co, Fe)AsS *
Columbite Columbite, also called niobite, niobite-tantalite and columbate [], is a black mineral group that is an ore of niobium. It has a submetallic Lustre (mineralogy), luster and a high density and is a niobate of iron and manganese. This mineral group wa ...

Columbite
-
Tantalite The mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it is composed, a ...

Tantalite
or
Coltan'' Coltan (short for columbite–tantalites and known industrially as tantalite) is a dull black metallic ore from which the elements niobium Niobium, also known as columbium, is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Nb (form ...
: (Fe, Mn)(Nb, Ta)2O6 *
Galena Galena, also called lead glance, is the natural mineral form of lead(II) sulfide (PbS). It is the most important ore of lead Lead is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Pb (from the Latin ) and atomic number 82. It is a he ...

Galena
: PbS *
Native gold Gold is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Au (from la, aurum) and atomic number 79, making it one of the higher atomic number elements that occur naturally. In a pure form, it is a brightness, bright, slightly reddish yel ...
: Au, typically associated with
quartz Quartz is a hard, crystalline mineral composed of silica (silicon dioxide). The atoms are linked in a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon-oxygen Tetrahedral molecular geometry, tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, ...

quartz
or as placer deposits *
Hematite Hematite (), also spelled as haematite, is a common iron oxide Iron oxides are chemical compounds composed of iron and oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of ...

Hematite
: Fe2O3 *
Ilmenite Crystal structure of ilmenite Ilmenite, also known as manaccanite, is a titanium-iron oxide mineral with the idealized formula . It is a weakly magnetic black or steel-gray solid. From a commercial perspective, ilmenite is the most important o ...
: FeTiO3 *
Magnetite Magnetite is a mineral and one of the main iron ore Iron ores are rocks and minerals from which metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, po ...

Magnetite
: Fe3O4 *
Malachite Malachite is a copper Copper is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cu (from la, cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductility, ductile metal with very high thermal conductivity, thermal and elec ...

Malachite
: Cu2CO3(OH)2 *
Molybdenite Molybdenite is a mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure for ...

Molybdenite
: MoS2 *
Pentlandite Pentlandite is an iron Iron () is a chemical element with Symbol (chemistry), symbol Fe (from la, Wikt:ferrum, ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 element, group 8 of the period ...
: (Fe, Ni)9S8 *
Pyrolusite Pyrolusite is a mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it is ...
: MnO2 *
Scheelite Scheelite is a calcium Calcium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ca and atomic number 20. As an alkaline earth metal, calcium is a reactive metal that forms a dark oxide-nitride layer when exposed to air. Its physical ...

Scheelite
: CaWO4 *
Sperrylite Sperrylite is a platinum Platinum is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of at ...
: PtAs2 for production of
platinum Platinum is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same ...

platinum
*
Sphalerite Sphalerite ((Zinc, Zn, Iron, Fe)Sulfur, S) is a mineral and ore of zinc. When the iron content is high, sphalerite is an opaque black variety called marmatite. It was discovered in 1847 by Ernst Friedrich Glocker, who named it based on the Greek w ...

Sphalerite
: ZnS *
Uraninite Uraninite, formerly pitchblende, is a radioactive, uranium Uranium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol U and atomic number 92. It is a silvery-grey metal in the actinide series of the periodic table. A uranium atom ...
(pitchblende): UO2 for production of metallic
uranium Uranium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol U and atomic number 92. It is a silvery-grey metal in the actinide series of the periodic table. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence elect ...

uranium
*
Wolframite Wolframite, (Fe,Mn)WO4, is an iron Iron () is a chemical element with Symbol (chemistry), symbol Fe (from la, Wikt:ferrum, ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 element, group 8 of ...
: (Fe, Mn)WO4


See also

*
Economic geology Economic geology is concerned with earth materials that can be used for economic and/or industrial purposes. These materials include precious and base metals, nonmetallic minerals and construction-grade stone. Economic geology is a subdisciplin ...
*
Extractive metallurgy Extractive metallurgy is a branch of metallurgical engineering Metallurgy is a domain of materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''mé ...
(ore processing) *
Froth Flotation of the froth surface. Froth flotation is a process for selectively separating hydrophobic In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, m ...
* Mineral resource classification * Ore genesis * Petrology


References


Further reading


DILL, H.G. (2010) ''The “chessboard” classification scheme of mineral deposits: Mineralogy and geology from aluminum to zirconium,'' Earth-Science Reviews, Volume 100, Issue 1-4, June 2010, Pages 1-420


External links

{{Authority control Economic geology Mining