Login
Copyright

What is Ore? - Definition, Types, Uses & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Effect of Adding Carbon to Steel

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Definition of Ore
  • 1:13 Types of Ore
  • 2:37 Uses for Ore
  • 3:40 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Heather Pier

Heather has taught high school and college science courses, and has a master's degree in geography-climatology.

Learn about ores, which are a special type of rock from which we can economically extract valuable elements and minerals. Ores are the source for some of the world's most important geological resources, including both precious and industrial metals and energy resources like uranium.

Definition of Ore

Unless you have some form of telepathy, you are probably reading this lesson on an electronic device. That electronic device and its associated battery contain any number of metals in its circuitry and components, and those metals all began their life as an ore. An ore is a special type of rock that contains a large enough amount of a particular mineral (usually a metal) to make it economically practical to extract that mineral from the surrounding rock. Not all minerals are found in a large enough amount in one location to make it worth it to remove the ore from the rock through a process known as mining. Ores can be mined in a number of ways, including strip mining as shown here at this uranium mine.

Strip mining
Strip mining pit

If there is a large enough amount present, the rock will be extracted and processed in a variety of ways (depending on the type of mineral) to remove the mineral from the surrounding rock. Once they are extracted and processed, the minerals can be turned into whatever products are desired, including the components in your cell phones and computers. One of the best known metals, gold, is extracted from gold ore like this sample.

Gold ore
Large piece of gold ore

Types of Ore

Ores are classified based on how they form. Some ores form from the cooling and crystallization of minerals within magmas, lavas, or igneous intrusions. These are known as magmatic or volcanic ores. Nickel, copper, and iron ores are typically formed from magmatic or volcanic-related deposits. Carbonate alkaline ores are formed from other igneous processes other than volcanic and activity. Rare earth element ores and also some diamonds are part of the carbonate alkaline group. As you can imagine, if ores can form from igneous processes, then they can also form from metamorphic or sedimentary processes also. Metamorphic ores often contain lead, zinc, and silver, as well as some iron oxides. Sedimentary ore deposits include banded iron formations, and gold, platinum, zinc, tin, and even diamond-containing ores that formed in sedimentary environments. Lastly, ores can form as a result of hydrothermal processes. These processes involve the exposure of rocks and minerals to extremely hot water, usually near oceanic hydrothermal vents or hot springs. Most of the world's gold ores, as well as uranium ores, formed from hydrothermal processes.

Uses for Ore

So what are some uses for ore?

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support