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Metallic Minerals vs. Non-Metallic Minerals: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 6, 2023
Metallic minerals contain metal in raw form, while non-metallic minerals do not contain metal.

Key Differences

Metallic minerals are typically found in igneous and metamorphic rock formations that form large plateaus. Non-metallic minerals are usually found in sedimentary rock formations of plains and young fold mountains. Both metallic and non-metallic minerals find extensive usage in various industrial processes, albeit in different forms and applications.
Metallic minerals tend to have a shiny appearance, reflecting light, and are solid and hard objects. In contrast, non-metallic minerals may not exhibit a shiny, lustrous appearance and can be transparent or translucent. Thus, the physical appearance of metallic and non-metallic minerals varies significantly, affecting their usage and extraction processes.
The economic value of metallic minerals is not only confined to their use, but also in trade since they are considered precious. Non-metallic minerals, while also having economic value, are typically not traded in raw form and are valued for their applications in industrial processes. Therefore, economic considerations for metallic and non-metallic minerals are evaluated differently in industrial contexts.
Metallic minerals are good conductors of electricity and heat, owing to the metallic component within them. Non-metallic minerals are typically poor conductors of electricity and heat, which influences their utility and role in various applications. Hence, the conductive properties form a distinctive difference between metallic and non-metallic minerals.
Extraction and processing of metallic minerals often involve smelting and other complex methods due to their metal content. In contrast, non-metallic minerals often involve less complicated processing. Therefore, the methods of obtaining and refining metallic minerals contrast notably from non-metallic minerals.

Comparison Chart


Usually lustrous and shiny.
Generally not shiny.

Electric Conductivity

Good conductors of electricity and heat.
Poor conductors of electricity and heat.

Economic Trade

Often traded in raw and refined form.
Rarely traded in raw form.

Extraction Process

Involves complex methods like smelting.
Typically involves simpler methods.

Typical Formation

Found in igneous and metamorphic rocks.
Found in sedimentary rocks.

Metallic Minerals and Non-Metallic Minerals Definitions

Metallic Minerals

Minerals containing metallic elements in raw form.
Iron ore is one of the essential metallic minerals used in making steel.

Non-Metallic Minerals

Minerals typically not conducting electricity or heat effectively.
Quartz, a non-metallic mineral, is utilized in making glass and ceramics.

Metallic Minerals

Minerals that can be reshaped without breaking, owing to their malleability and ductility.
Aluminum is a metallic mineral that is malleable, making it useful in packaging materials.

Non-Metallic Minerals

Minerals generally found in sedimentary rock formations.
Kaolin is a non-metallic mineral used extensively in the paper industry.

Metallic Minerals

Minerals that exhibit a metallic luster and are opaque.
Gold, a valuable metallic mineral, is used in various electronic applications.

Non-Metallic Minerals

Minerals that do not contain metals and are not shiny.
Gypsum, a non-metallic mineral, is key to making drywall and plaster.

Metallic Minerals

Minerals that conduct electricity and heat.
Copper is a metallic mineral widely used in electrical wiring due to its conductivity.

Non-Metallic Minerals

Minerals that don’t derive their value from physical and chemical properties of metals.
Limestone, a non-metallic mineral, is crucial for cement production.

Metallic Minerals

Minerals generally derived from rocks through a process involving heat and pressure.
Silver, a metallic mineral, is often extracted from argyrite and chlorargyrite.

Non-Metallic Minerals

Minerals that are usually non-malleable and brittle.
Flint, a non-metallic mineral, was historically used for producing fire due to its hardness.


How are non-metallic minerals defined?

Non-metallic minerals do not contain metal elements and typically lack a shiny appearance.

Can metallic minerals be found in sedimentary rock?

While possible, metallic minerals are more commonly found in igneous and metamorphic rock formations.

How does the economic value of non-metallic minerals compare to metallic ones?

The economic value of non-metallic minerals may be less per unit than metallic minerals but is significant due to their extensive use in various industries.

Why are metallic minerals often traded in raw form?

Metallic minerals like gold and silver have intrinsic value and are often traded as commodities.

What's a common usage of metallic minerals in industry?

Metallic minerals are widely used in industries for creating machinery, vehicles, and even electronic devices.

Are all metallic minerals magnetic?

No, not all metallic minerals are magnetic, though some, like iron, have magnetic properties.

Can metallic minerals be liquid at room temperature?

Rarely, mercury is a metallic mineral that is liquid at room temperature.

Are non-metallic minerals always poor conductors of electricity?

Generally, yes. Non-metallic minerals are typically poor conductors of electricity and heat.

Is the extraction of non-metallic minerals typically environmentally friendly?

It can be, but the impact varies; extraction processes and subsequent usage can have varying environmental effects.

Can metallic minerals be found in ocean beds?

Yes, metallic minerals can be found in ocean beds, though extraction may be challenging and environmentally contentious.

Are non-metallic minerals used in jewelry?

Yes, some non-metallic minerals like pearls and amber are used in creating jewelry.

Are metallic minerals renewable resources?

No, metallic minerals are non-renewable as they do not regenerate within human timescales.

Are metallic minerals malleable?

Generally, yes. Metallic minerals tend to be malleable and can be reshaped without breaking.

Which non-metallic mineral is commonly used in insulation?

Asbestos, a non-metallic mineral, was commonly used for insulation but is now restricted due to health concerns.

Are non-metallic minerals crucial in agriculture?

Yes, non-metallic minerals like phosphate are crucial in fertilizers used in agriculture.

Do non-metallic minerals play a role in technological applications?

Yes, non-metallic minerals like quartz are used in various technological applications, e.g., in making computer chips.

Is recycling common for metallic minerals?

Yes, metallic minerals, especially those used in packaging and products, are often recycled.

Can non-metallic minerals be transparent?

Yes, non-metallic minerals like quartz can be transparent or translucent.

What are metallic minerals?

Metallic minerals contain metal elements in their raw form and often exhibit a shiny appearance.

How essential are non-metallic minerals in construction?

Very. Non-metallic minerals like limestone and clay are vital in producing construction materials like cement.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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