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crystals rocks minerals

What is an Ore? (geology)

an ore of gold

An Ore is a Rock with Important Minerals

An ore is a type of rock that contains important minerals with natural elements such as metals.  It must contain enough to make extraction worthwhile.

Metals are usually extracted from an ore through a process of heating and reduction also known as smelting.  Not all metals can be extracted in this way.

Another process used to separate the element from the rock is electrolysis.  This process separates the two materials by using acid and electricity. 

For thousands of years malachite was an important ore of copper.  Today the mineral chalcopyrite is used instead. Hematite and goethite are ores of iron, galena is an ore of lead.

Article Photo

The rock in our photo is an ore of gold. The image is clickable and redirects to the original image.  The photographers page on Flickr includes more information about this rare ore of gold.  Courtesy of James St.John. 

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