Minerals and the deposits they come from
So minerals are present in all rocks, however you cannot just go mine rocks, there has to be a concentration of a valuable mineral (deposit) in an area where it can be mined with a net profit (mineable deposit).
For a relatively rare mineral to accumulate and concentrate in a single area enough to be economically mineable isn’t the only needle in a haystack for a mineral deposit. It also must survive long enough for us to find it as the earth is constantly destroying/eroding/burying mineral deposits. Placer gold is eroded gold, before its buried to deep to find/be economical.
Common to nearly all mineral deposits is a thing called hydrothermal fluids. Hydrothermal fluids are liquid/gases under the extreme pressure/heat deep in the earth that can “dissolve” minerals and move them around to form mineral deposits when the dissolved minerals come out of the fluids.
Precious metals – Rare metals which have either a special property, demand in jewellery or a combination of both. Gold is found in electronics due to its electrical properties, and highly sought for jewelry. Platinum/Palladium is used in catalytic converters in all automobiles as it allows a chemical reaction that cleans the exhaust.
Precious metal deposits tend to be small, vein type deposits are common in Greenstone and northern Ontario.
Notable deposit in Northern Ontario occur i n Red Lake – A very high grade gold camp and Lac Des Iles platinum/palladium mine.
Base metals – These are the cheaper, more widely used metals that tend to be all around us. Copper in our wire, Iron in our cars, pots, pipes, Nickel in our stainless steel.
Base metals tend to be in large deposits with huge “tonnages” to make them economically viable.
Notable deposits of base metals are the Sudbury Nickel deposits, Labrador iron ore and the new Ring of Fire chromite deposits in Northern Ontario.
Base metal deposit descriptions and types
Rare earth minerals/metals – Very rare, limited minerals and metals which are necessary for computer/electronics, superconductors, new batteries and technology in general. Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are becoming the potential mining boom of the future due to their rarity and until now have not been actively sought.
Rare earth deposits are very small and localized.
Industrial minerals – Things like clay (for bricks), small diamonds for cutting/grinding, limestone/dolomite for concrete. Relatively easy to find but necessary for everyday life.