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A mineral or an aggregate of minerals from which a valuable constituent, especially a metal, can be profitably mined or extracted. Nearly all rock deposits contain some metallic minerals, but in many cases the concentration of metal is too low to justify mining. Ores are usually found concentrated in deposits with a definite gradation of metal concentration from the ore to the surrounding rock. Ore minerals are generally sulphides, oxides, silicates or the metal in its native uncombined state. Examples of mineral ores include Chalcocite (Cu2S), Hematite (Fe2O3), Cinnabar (HgS).

It happens that mineral deposits known for a long time are reclassified to ores when the technology for metal recovery becomes more efficient or when metal prices rise. Environmental regulations that require restoration of the mine site when production has ceased might also affect whether a mineral deposit is considered an ore or not.

Marginal ore

Ore near the lowest limit of commercial viability.

Low grade ore

Ore of inferior grade or quality. Low grade ores can be defined as ores containing very low concentrations of desired metals. Recovery of metals from these ores using conventional treatment methods is not economically viable. In-situ methods such as heap leaching are normally used.

See also

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