Metallic Minerals

Mineral name: There are so many minerals that are metal ores that I have lumped them all into one group for this exercise.


When we were looking around the room for metallic lusters, you probably spotted quite a few objects that are made of metal. Most of our metals come from minerals, so as you look around, you can put a dot on pretty much anything that is metal. As you can see from the list below, there are quite a few minerals that are metal ores, so you may want to use a single color of dot for the metals.

With most metals, there are several different minerals that can be used as a source. For each metal, I have listed some of the major minerals, but there are often many more that are either not common enough to mine or that are take too much processing to be used. You may find it interesting that many metal ores do not have a metallic luster when they are in mineral form. Just as iron loses its metallic luster when it changes to rust, in many of these minerals the metal is combined with other elements, which changes the luster.

  • Iron and steel minerals: Magnetite, hematite, goethite, limonite, siderite
    Used for metal shelves or cabinets, metal sinks, faucets, scissors, nails, screws, tools, etc.
  • Aluminum minerals: gibbsite, boehmite, diaspore
    Used in aluminum cans, foil, frames for windows and doors, CDs and DVDs, computers, LEDs for flashlights, siding for buildings, parts for transportation (cars, bikes, boats, planes), paint, fireworks, cooking utensils, etc.
  • Copper minerals: native copper, chalcopyrite, chalcocite
    Used for electrical wiring, circuit boards for electrical devices, pipes for water and gas, coins, roofing, pots and pans. Copper is used in making brass and bronze.
  • Zinc minerals: sphalerite
    Used for galvanized coatings to protect metals from corrosion, and for electric batteries. Zinc is used in the making of brass and bronze. Zinc oxide is used for white paint, sun block, and in making rubber.
  • Chromium minerals: chromite
    Used for shiny coating on faucets, car parts, etc. Added to iron to make stainless steel.
  • Tungsten minerals: wolframite, scheelite
    Used for incandescent and fluorescent lights.
  • Gold minerals: native gold, pyrite, chalcopyrite
    Used in jewelry and corrosion resistant electrical components.
  • Silver minerals: native silver, argentite, galena
    Used in jewelry and photographic film.