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An ore is a type of rock that contains commercially viable quantities of a certain mineral substance. For example, rock that contains enough Hematite, may be iron ore. Often relatively small amounts of mineral are extracted from large pieces of rock. This causes large quantities of waste rock to be left behind, which can lead to significant environmental problems.

Certain minerals and metals can accumulate under certain circumstances whereby ore bodies are formed. This can happen in such processes as volcanism, the sorting of material by erosion and deposition, or by precipitation of certain solutes from groundwater.

From ore not only metals like iron, tin, lead, nickel and gold are extracted, but also salts, quartz and phosphate.

An ore mine in north Albania. Photo: Herman Zevenberg

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