Friday, April 24, 2015

Economic Mineral Deposits and Host Rocks

Common Economic Minerals

A mineral can be termed economic or uneconomic depending on its industrial use. The mineral quartz is economic as silica sand used in glass or optical industry. The same mineral is uneconomic when it hosts gold as auriferous quartz vein or occurs as a constituent of rocks hosting copper, zinc and iron ore. It is then processed and discarded as gangue, tailing or waste. The ore deposits are generally composed of a main product, one or more by-products and trace elements  such as zinc-lead-silver, copper-gold, chromium-nickel platinumpalladium.
Sometimes a single mineral forms the valuable deposit such as calcite in marble. The same mineral can be designated as metallic or industrial depending on its use. Bauxite ore is “metallic” when aluminum is produced and “industrial” when used directly for refractory bricks and abrasives.
An ore deposit can be composed of metallic and nonmetallic minerals, mined together and processed to produce separate products. An example can be Bou Jabeur deposit, Tunisia, containing galena and sphalerite along with fluorite and barite.
The economic minerals occur in various forms such as native elements to compounds of oxide, carbonate, silicate, sulfide, sulfate, sulfosalts, phosphate etc.

Common Economic Minerals

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