Metallic minerals are minerals that contain metals. Metals are defined as chemical elements that can easily release electrons (to form positive ions), and thus forming metallic bonds. Simply, metals are those minerals that are shiny, malleable, fusible and good electrical conductors.
Ore is a word commonly used to describe deposits of metallic minerals. However, for a mineral deposit to be considered an ore deposit, it must be an economically viable source of the metal; that is, the deposit must contain sufficiently high concentration of one or more metals to allow their extraction with a profit.
Whether or not an ore deposit is economically exploitable depends upon a number of actors. NGU's ore database include mineral deposits that may not, at present economically viaable because their grade is too low, the deposit is too small, market prices are low, or because extraction of the contained metal(s) is technologically challenging and expensive.
Metallic ores are most commonly found in the form of oxides (chemical bond to oxygen) or sulphides (chemical bond to sulphur and oxygen), and can be divided into the following groups:
- Precious metals (gold, silver, and platinum group metals).
- Iron, titanium and iron alloy metals (iron, manganese, titanium, chromium, nickel, cobalt, vanadium, molybdenum and tungsten).
- Base metals (copper, zinc, lead, arsenic, antimony, bismuth and tin)
- Special metals\incompatible elements (niobium, tantalum, beryllium, lithium, scandium and rare earth elements)
- Energy metals (uranium and thorium)
- Other metals (Cs, Ga, Ge, Hf, In, Cd, Hg, Re, Rb, Se, Si, Sr, S, Te, Tl, Zr,Mg and metallic elements used for non-metallic products: Ba, K, Ca, Na, Rb)
Norway has a long mining history, including production of concentrates of iron, silver, copper, cobalt, nickel, lead, zinc, titanium, chromium, molybdenum, tungsten, niobium, and gold. Up until the 1980s, metals were the most important type of mineral resource for the Norwegian mining industry.