Images and Information on Precious and Base Metal Ores:

Of course any prospector is interested in ores and ore minerals. I've done up some pages to show folks what various types of base and precious metal ores look like. I've got specimens of gold ore from around the world and silver and copper ores as well. I've also got specimens of gold nuggets as well as platinum. I also have links to the various precious metal ore minerals on my mineral collector's pages. I think these ore photo pages will be a site you world want to look at to compare the various ores and have a good idea of what you might be looking for when you are out prospecting in the field.

I have recently expanded this page to show all different types of ores and ore minerals because very few folks know all of what these industrial and lesser known metals mean to us. Though we don't always see them or understand their exact use, our technological world runs on many different types of elements, each of which is critical in its own way. If you cant grow it , then it has to be mined, and many types of ore are needed in our world for us to live the way we do. From the metals which give high strength steel its tenacity, to those which enable the view screens on our computers, these ores must be made available or we go back to living like it was the dark ages all over again. These pages will give you a chance to see just what metal ores are needed to power the technology of our modern world.



Gold ores mostly are based on their content of free, native gold. Pictured on some of the pages below are a number of examples of free gold in various forms. Even with gold bearing sulfides such as pyrite or galena, the gold is present as tiny metallic particles. While a small amount of the free native gold in gold bearing ores is coarse sized, the greatest percentage is fine sized. These fine gold particles can be so small they are hard to see - some are even microscopic in size. The only other common form of gold in ores is when the gold combines with tellurium and other metals. These minerals, like calaverite, are known as tellurides.
On the other hand, silver ores are based mostly on sulfides that contain significant silver as a part of their metallic content. The silver may be present mixed into the crystal structure as in
galena, or be an essential part of the mineral itself as in pyargyrite. A few silver minerals are not sulfides such as silver chloride, known as cerargyrite (horn silver). Silver also occurs mixed with gold as tellurides. Native silver metal does occur in certain places, but unlike gold, it is fairly uncommon. Native silver forms from secondary processes during weathering. Like many base metals, silver can concentrate during the weathering process, forming rich bonanza grade secondary ores from primary ores that are low to moderate in grade. The secondary concentrations of silver form above the water line below  the outcrop of the vein.

Platinum ores nearly always form in strongly basic rocks that are also commonly rich in iron, chrome and nickel. Many of them form via some process of magmatic segregation from molten rock as it cools in the earth. Unlike gold and silver ores, platinum ores are almost never present in quartz veins. Platinum is sometimes present in small amounts in certain copper ores as well. Copper ores come in both oxide and sulfide forms, and both types are important copper ores across the world. Primary sulfide minerals like chalcopyrite and bornite are fairly common, while oxidized forms of copper minerals like azurite, malachite and chrysocolla are also common. These oxidized copper ores form near the surface and sometimes create rich secondary ores. Native copper has been an important copper ore in the past, but is now an unimportant source of the metal. Like silver, it forms from secondary processes related to weathering. In a few places silver and copper form mixed specimens that are part silver and part copper - some make for very desirable mineral specimens.

Each of the base metal ores has its own suite of minerals which make up the principal ores for that metal. Take a look at the web pages blow for listings of the ores of the industrial metals like aluminum, iron, nickel and chromium. Don't over look the rarer metals as well, including molybdenum, uranium and the rare earths as they can be very valuable. The ores described here are all essential to the way we live our lives and worth keeping an eye out for when you are in the field prospecting. The page4s also describe the use of these ores and metals in our daily lives. Take a look at all the links below to see my ore photo pages and you will likely learn more about the various kinds of ores of these important metals and how they occur in nature. Photos and Information on precious and base metal ores of all types can be found below. The photos are of specimens taken from mines all over the US and the world. Check out the following links to view the images:



Precious Metal Ores:
Gold Ores and ore minerals
Silver Ores and ore minerals
Silver Ore Deposits of the USA
Silver Ore Deposits of the World

Native Gold and Nuggets, Part 1
Native Gold and Platinum Nuggets, Part 2
California Mother Lode Gold Quartz Veins

Palladium and Platinum Ores

Specialty Metal Ores:
Copper Ores and ore minerals

Copper Ore Deposits of the USA
Uranium Ores
Rare Earth Ores
Vanadium Ores
Magnesium Ores
Molybdenum Ores
Tungsten Ores
Tungsten Ore Formations of the World

Industrial Metal Ores:
Iron Ore and Ore Minerals
Iron Ore Deposits of the United States
Aluminum Ore and Ore Minerals
Aluminum Ores: Bauxite
Chromium Ore and Ore Minerals
Tin Ore and Ore Minerals
Cassiterite Veins
Cassiterite Vein Formation
Lead Ore and Ore Minerals
Lead Ore Deposits of the United States
Lead Ore Deposits of the World
Zinc Ore and Ore Minerals
Zinc Ore Deposits of the United States
Zinc Ore Deposits of the World
Manganese Ore and Ore Minerals
Manganese Ore Formation and Occurrences
Nickel Ore and Ore Minerals
Lateritic (Secondary) Nickel Ore Deposits
Sulfide (Primary) Nickel Ore Deposits

Learning to recognize the different types of minerals which make up specific ores is a very worthwhile project for the prospector. The ore minerals which form the sources of the valuable metals are almost without exception included in the following group of compounds: the sulfides and tellurides, the arsenides and antimonides, the oxides and oxidized compounds such as hydrous oxides, carbonates, sulphates, phosphates, and silicates, and one or two compounds of chlorine. A few metals occur in the native state. All the other mineral compounds such as a chromate or two, a bromide or iodide, etc., are rarities. It may be said that nine-tenths of the productive ores are sulphides, oxides, hydroxides, carbonates, and native metals. The ores of each metal are outlined and described as a part of each particular deposit type in the descriptions above. By ore mineral is meant a metalliferous mineral which owes its economic value to the fact that it is smelted or otherwise processed to obtain a useful metal. A large number of economic minerals however, require treatment to be concentrated (i.e. separated from the matrix) before the minerals are available for smelting or other processing to obtain the metal or for use of the mineral in other ways.
The most common associated gangue mineral in valuable deposits is quartz, while in lesser amounts are found calcite, barite, siderite, fluorite, rhodochrosite, and in some places the gangue minerals are silicates like feldspar, pyroxene, hornblende, rhodonite, etc. The silicate minerals are chiefly present in large lodes, where the deposit splits up into stringer veinlets or where the gangue is a rock and the ore is disseminated through it. All the common rocks serve in this capacity as host to disseminated ore bodies in one type of deposit or another.



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