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History, Formation Of Ore, Igneous Ore Deposits, Hydrothermal Ore Deposits, Sedimentary Ore DepositsFuture developments

Ore is metalliferous rock that can be mined and processed at a profit. Although a broader definition includes nonmetallic rocks like rock salt and gypsum, most geologists classify these materials as industrial rocks and minerals.

Unlike products from the forest and farm, ores are a nonrenewable resource. The economic survival of industrial societies is linked to the discovery of new supplies of metals and to improved technology for the extraction of metals from ever lower grade deposits. Industry, government, and universities are constantly developing new exploration techniques and more efficient recovery methods.



Craig, James, David Vaughan, and Brian Skinner. Resources of the Earth. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1988.

Evans, Anthony. Ore Geology and Industrial Minerals: An Introduction. Boston: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1993.

Kesler, Stephen. Mineral Resources, Economics and the Environment. New York: MacMillian College Publishing Company, Inc., 1994.

Klein, C. The Manual of Mineral Science. 22nd ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002.

Eric R. Swanson


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—The valueless component of ore, commonly quartz and calcite.

Hydrothermal fluid

—Hot water-rich fluid capable of transporting metals in solution.


—Formed by solidification of molten rock called magma.

Industrial rocks and minerals

—Rocks of economic value exclusive of metallic ores, mineral fuels, and gems.


—Formed by deformation and/or recrystallization of preexisting rocks.


—Rock, usually metallic, that can be mined and processed at a profit.


—Formed by accumulation of sediment, mostly commonly by deposition from water.

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