Q:

What are ores?

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Quick Answer

Tulane University defines an ore as a body of material from which one or more valuable substances can be extracted. For example, bauxite ore is mined and refined to extract aluminum.

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Full Answer

Most materials are not mined from the ground in their finished state. They are usually part of ores that are mined and then refined to extract the wanted materials. Tulane University emphasizes that the concentration of the desired material in the ore compared to the cost of mining and extracting the wanted material helps determine the economic feasibility of a given mine. Minerals in an ore deposit that do not contain the desired material are referred to as gangue.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How is bauxite formed?

    A:

    Bauxite ore is formed when the surrounding soil or rock is dissolved by natural weathering processes until it forms a new type of rock that is usually rich in aluminum ore. Though both types are used for aluminum production, the most valuable type of bauxite ore is lateritic ore.

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  • Q:

    How is lead mined?

    A:

    Galena, or lead sulfide, the world's major source of lead ore, occurs worldwide; and, it is mined in many countries, including the United States, Australia and China. Lead ore comes from underground mining operations, where the lead ore seams are blasted out of the ground and transported to the surface for refinement. Lead is commonly found in deposits with other minerals, such as silver, zinc or copper.

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  • Q:

    How is copper produced?

    A:

    Copper is primarily produced by mining certain mineral compounds that contain copper, processing the ores, and then smelting and extracting the copper metal. Copper materials are recyclable as well, and the recycled copper scraps can be fully utilized, as the process does not change the metal's properties.

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  • Q:

    Where can silver be found?

    A:

    Silver can be found in the form of one of its ores, such as chlorargyrite or galena, in the silver deposits of countries including Chile, Bolivia and Peru. Silver may be naturally found in its native, unreactive state in the form of nuggets, although this occurrence is extremely rare.

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