Mineral vs. Ore: What's the Difference?


Key Difference

Minerals are naturally occurring substances in which metals are present while ores are made of minerals and used to obtain metals.


Comparison Chart

DefinitionMinerals are naturally occurring materials of metals present in the earth’s crust.Ores are minerals which are used to obtain metals profitably.
ImportanceScientific importanceEconomic importance
ExampleClay is the mineral of aluminumBauxite and cryolite are the chief ores of aluminum

What is a mineral?

The study of minerals is called mineralogy. Almost 4000 minerals are present in earth’s crust. Minerals are available in the natural environment. They can be found on earth’s surface as well as underground. They are homogenous solids with regular structures. Minerals are found in ores, rocks, and natural mineral deposits. Minerals are different from rocks. A mineral is a chemical compound with specific composition and structure while rock is a mixture of one or more minerals in different proportions. Hematite and magnetite are found in iron ores. Minerals like gems and diamonds are rare. There are a huge number of minerals, and they can be identified by studying their color, shape, structure, and properties. Some minerals are shiny for example gold and silver while some are not. Cleavage is the way minerals split apart naturally. Some minerals split into cubes and some split into irregular shapes. Mohs scale is used to measure hardness. It is 1-10 scale and diamond is valued as 10 in that scale which is very harder than talc which is valued as 1. Minerals are used for everyday purposes for example, in microwave oven and TV. Minerals are also used in the composition of copper wires which carry electricity. Salt and halite are also used in everyday life. Graphite is used to make pencils and rock salt is used in cooking. Mineral ores are also a source of different metals.


What is Ore?

Ore is a kind of rock which consists of minerals with other important elements including metals that can be extracted for useful purposes. The ores are mined from the earth through mining and refining, and then valuable elements are extracted. Ore bodies are formed on earth by a variety of geological processes. The process of ore formation is known as ore genesis. Metals are present in ores in huge quantity. For example, there are magnesium ores, iron ores, and gold ores. Sometimes, metals are present in ores as elements while sometimes present as compound, e.g., sulfides, oxides, silicates, etc. Bauxite, gold, argentite, hematite, galena, chalcocite, beryl, magnetite, fluorite, limonite, pyrite, and sphalerite are some common and important ore minerals. When ore is accumulated over time, an ore deposit has formed. An ore deposit contains only one type of ore. Ores deposits are classified on the basis of Genesis and a criterion which has developed because of economic geology. Ore deposits are classified as a hydrothermal epigenetic deposit, granite related hydrothermal, related volcanic deposits, metamorphically reworked deposits, sedimentary deposits, sedimentary hydrothermal deposits, carbonatite alkaline igneous related deposits, nickel cobalt platinum deposits and astrobleme related ores. Ore deposits are extracted through mining. Extraction of ores consists of various steps. The first step is an exploration in which it is determined where deposits are located. The second step is the resource estimation in which size and grade of ores are determined. In the third step, a feasibility study is conducting to estimate financial and technical support. The fourth step is development, the fifth step is an operation, and the last step is reclamation.


Mineral vs. Ore

  • All minerals are not ore.
  • All ores are essential minerals too.
  • A mineral is a native form in which metals exist.
  • Ores are mineral deposits.
  • Explanatory Video

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