What are minerals and ore

Ore - metal containing minerals and rocks

The basis of many objects, materials and technologies from everyday life are minerals and rocks. A raw material that has been indispensable for centuries is ore or ore-containing minerals.

Table of contents ore

Definition of ore

Ores (English: ore) are mined underground or above ground metal-containing minerals or rocks that are economically usable comes to.
The name ore, on the other hand, comes from Latin and is translated as metal.

Conversely, this also means that not every metal-containing mineral or rock is defined as ore.

Ore-containing minerals, which only occur in a few locations in the world and where mining is not profitable due to the limited resources or low ore content, are not understood as ore. Metallic rocks If the ore content is too low, it is economically significant and is considered to be waste rock in mining designated.

Ores and industrial minerals

The various ores are contrasted with industrial minerals, which are defined as mineral, non-metallic raw materials that are not used for the production of energy or precious metals.

However, both terms have an economic interest in common, which is why industrial minerals and ores are among the most important natural resources in Germany.

The most important industrial minerals include feldspar, fluorite, barite, dolomite, gypsum, magnesite, sulfur, calcite, talc, quartz, mica minerals, aragonite, perlite, zeolites, salt and clay minerals such as kaolin, bentonite, vermiculite and montmorillonite.

Ore-containing minerals and rocks

As a result of their formation, ores occur in a large number of minerals and rocks. Based on the respective metal, ores are differentiated as follows:

ore Minerals Aluminum ores Bauxite, boehmite, diaspore, gibbsite, ruby, sapphire Beryllium oresBeryl, Phenakite, Aquamarine, Emerald, Red Beryl / Bixbit, Euclas, Gadolinite, Chrysoberyl, Alexandrite Lead oresCerussite, galena, crocite, anglesite Chrome oresChromite Iron ores Magnetite, hematite, Siderite, kamacite, pyrrhotite Gold oresSolid gold Cobalt oresCobaltite / cobaltin, skutterudite, linneit, erythrin Copper ores solid copper, chalcopyrite, chalcosine, bornite, atacamite Lithium ores Spodumene, zinnwaldite, ambylgonite, lepidolite, petalite Magnesium oresKieserite, magnesite Manganese oresPyrolusite, psilomelan Molybdenum ores Molybdenite Nickel ores Nepouite, pentlandite, nickeline, pyrrhotite, millerite, willemseit Platinum ores Platinum dignified Silver ores Solid silver Titanium oresIlmenite, rutile, perovskite, titanite Vanadium ores Carnotite, vanadinite, desclozite Tungsten ores Scheelite, wolframite, prolzite Zinc oresSmithsonite, zinc blende (sphalerite), wurtzite, willemite, zincite, hemimorphite, adamin, franklinite Tin oreCassiterite, stannite

Table 1: Ore-containing minerals and rocks

Differentiation of ores

In addition to the distinction according to the metal, a distinction is also made between precious metal ores, light metal ores, non-ferrous metal ores and black metal ores.

  • Precious metal ores: Gold, silver and platinum ores
  • Light metal ores: Aluminum, beryllium, lithium and magnesium ores
  • Non-ferrous metal ores: Lead, copper, zinc and tin ores
  • Black metal ores: Chromium, iron, cobalt, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, titanium, tungsten and vanadium ores

The metals are bound as a component in rocks and minerals. After the mining of ore-containing stones and minerals, metallurgy deals with the extraction and processing of mineral raw materials.

Use of ore

ore Usagealuminum Vehicle construction, heat conductors, electrical conductors, tin cans, aluminum foilberyllium Alloys, X-ray technology, neutron reflectorslead Radiation protection, alloy, electronicschrome Alloy, catalyst, tanneryiron Steel construction, transformer, generator, electric motorgold Jewelry, circuit boards, dental technology, photo technologycobalt Alloys, accumulatorscopper Alloys, electrical cables, laser technologylithium Batteries, reducing agents in metallurgy, alloys, reactor technologymagnesium Corrosion protection, fuels, alloys, reducing agentsmanganese Alloys, illuminantsmolybdenum Alloy, steel processing, X-ray technologynickel Alloys, catalyst, gas chromatographyplatinum Jewelry, nibs, medical technology, catalysts, thermocouples, laser printerssilver Jewelry, cutlery, electrical conductors, heat conductors, alloys, photo technology, medicine, alloystitanium Alloy, jewelry, dental technologyVanadium Nuclear fuel, alloy, batteries tungsten Steel processing, light sources, ammunition, jewelryzinc Corrosion protection, batteries, constructiontin Metal processing, dental technology

Table 2: Ores and uses

Formation of ore deposits

The formation of ores and minable deposits is linked to the formation of rocks and minerals containing metal. The deposits can be of magmatic as well as metamorphic and sedimentary origin.

Ores are part of the earth that, for example, come in the form of rising magmas from deeper layers of the earth to or near the earth's surface.

As the hot melt cools, various minerals and rocks crystallize out of the magmas, which in the case of ores are enriched with metals.

Ore deposits are also of magmatic origin on the ocean floor, around Black Smoker and in the area of ​​continental and / or oceanic plates drifting apart. An example of ore enrichments of marine origin are manganese nodules, which are of great economic importance.

Ore deposits can also arise in the course of weathering. As a result of the chemical, biological and / or physical crushing and decomposition of rocks and minerals, ores are extracted from the parent rock, transported / relocated, deposited, sedimented and solidified into ore-containing rocks, for example laterite and bauxite.

Also in the course of contact and regional metamorphosis, when rising magmas or as a result of mountain formation through tectonic processes under high temperature and pressure conditions, existing minerals or rocks are completely or partially melted and then recrystallized, ore enrichments can form through contact with the melt.

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Last updated: August 28, 2020

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