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Where does metal come from?

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Quick Answer

The Sustainable Design Award explains that most pure metals, such as silver, copper and aluminum, come from the Earth’s crust. They are often extracted from ores and minerals that occur in rocks. Pure metals are mixed with other metals to form alloys and improve their properties.

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Full Answer

Metals are generally classified as ferrous and non-ferrous. Ferrous metals, such as cast iron, carbon steel and mild steel, have iron in them. On the other hand, non-ferrous metals, such as lead, tin, aluminum and copper, do not contain iron. Scientists have discovered around 100 pure metals and numerous alloys, which have a variety of properties. Mining ore-bearing rocks is the first stage in creating metals. Miners use furnaces and electrolytic processes to extract metal from the rock. The metal undergoes further processing before it can be used.

Huge concentrations of metallic minerals are known as ore bodies, and they are usually associated with igneous intrusions, according to the Non-Ferrous Alliance. Most metals are typically found as compounds, while others are found as native elements. Although rarely pure, native metals are often natural alloys. Gold, silver, mercury and copper occur as native elements. Rarer metals, such as osmium, iridium and platinum, also occur as native elements.

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