Minerals are defined as homogenous naturally occurring substances with a definable internal structure. Minerals are found in nature, ranging from the hardest diamond to the softest talc.
Rocks are combination of homogenous substances called Minerals. Some rocks for instance limestone, consist of a single mineral only, but majority of the rocks consist of several minerals in varying proportions. Although, over 2000 minerals have been identified, only a few are abundantly found in most of the rocks.
Minerals are usually found in “ores”. The term ore is used to describe an accumulation of any mineral mixed with other elements. The mineral content of the ore must be in sufficient concentration to make its extraction commercially viable.
Minerals can be classified into 3 categories, Metallic, Non-Metallic and Energy minerals. Metallic minerals are again classified into 3: Ferrous, non ferrous and Precious. The 3 Types of Metallic minerals are given below.
1) Ferrous Minerals:
Ferrous minerals account for about three-forths of the total value of production of metallic minerals. They provide a strong base for development of metallurgical industries. Metallurgy is the study of metals. Examples of Ferrous minerals are Iron ore and manganese.
Iron ore – Iron ore is the basic mineral and the backbone of industrial development. Magnetite is the finest iron ore with a very high content of iron up to 70%. It has excellent magnetic qualities, especially valuable in the electrical industry. Hematite ore is the most important industrial iron in terms of quantity of use, but has a slightly lower iron content that magnetite. (50-60%)
Manganese – Manganese Is used in manufacturing of steel and ferro-manganese alloy. Nearly 10kg of manganese is required to make 1 ton of steel. It is also used in manufacturing of bleaching powder, insecticides and paints.
2) Non Ferrous Minerals:
Copper, Bauxite, lead, zinc etc are examples of Non ferrous minerals. It plays a vital role in a number of metallurgical, engineering and electrical industries.
Copper – Copper is considered as a very good metal because it is malleable, ductile, and a good conductor, copper is mainly used in electrical cables, electronics and chemical industries.
3) Precious Minerals:
These are minerals which are very costly and very expensive. They are generally lustrous. Gold, Silver etc are examples of precious minerals.