Ore Minerals 1 - Native Ores and Sulfides

Ore Minerals 1 - Native Ores and Sulfides

Areas of Study: Exploration and Geology

Qualifies for Certification

This course describes eleven common metal-bearing minerals that belong to the native ores and yellow-coloured sulfides.

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Course Summary


Ore minerals are naturally occurring sources of metals vital to our society and way of life. This course describes the physical properties of ore minerals, how to identify them, their history, uses and importance. We cover 11 common metal-bearing and industrial minerals that belong to the native ores and yellow-coloured sulfides. This course is a companion course to Ore Minerals 2 – Sulfides and Oxides.

Of the minerals covered in this course, 6 are sources of metal for the global mining industry: silver, gold, platinum, copper, chalcopyrite and pentlandite. Another 3, namely diamond, graphite and sulfur, are sources of non-metal elements. We also look at pyrite and pyrrhotite, 2 sulfide minerals that are not ores themselves but often occur in ore deposits, making them important species to recognize and differentiate from the more valuable sulfide ores.

Diagnostic properties are given for each species to aid their identification in the field. Mining methods, mine production, global reserves and resources are also described, emphasizing the importance of ore minerals to our economy.


The course comprises 20 learning sessions, each of 30–60 minutes duration, plus supporting figures, images, tables, references, appendices, and interactive reviews that confirm your achievement of the learning objectives. The total duration of the course is approximately 11 hours.

Learning Outcomes

  • Define mineral and ore.
  • Recognize the physical properties of minerals and list some of the tests used to evaluate or describe those properties.
  • Describe the defining properties of common ore minerals and know which tests to use to test these properties. Note: The course is written for online learning without the need to have actual mineral specimens in front of you. For those who wish to augment the course content with the study of physical specimens, instructions are given to obtain mineral identification tools and specimen sample sets.
  • Recognize where metals come from, as well as their importance and use in our society.

Recommended Background

  • The course is written for students with at least a high school understanding of chemistry, physics and geology.

Dr. Selina Tribe

Dr. Selina Tribe is a faculty member at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Douglas College, where she teaches geology and mineral exploration. She has more than 20 years' experience mapping rocks, minerals and landforms on Earth, and as far afield as Mars. She has worked as a Professional Geoscientist for mineral exploration and resource development projects throughout North America. She serves as director of the board of Sego Resources Ltd. She has written articles and courses on aspects of geology, and mentors junior geologists and engineers.

Dr. Tribe holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in geology from Simon Fraser University, and Master of Science and Honours Bachelor of Science degrees in geology from University of British Columbia. She is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia since 1999, and the International Society for Promotion of Geoethics.