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Difference between Metallic and Non-metallic Minerals

Minerals are homogenous solid substances that are found in different types of geological environment.They are made of different types of inorganic substances and have a specific chemical formula and a crystal structure. Minerals are mined for their economic and commercial value and can be of two types: metallic minerals and non-metallic minerals. Let us see the how they differ from each other!

Metallic Minerals:

As the name suggests, metallic minerals are the minerals that contain one or more metals. In general, they occur as mineral deposits and are a good conductor of heat and electricity, e.g. iron, copper, gold, bauxite, manganese etc. They are malleable and ductile in nature so they can be easily pounded into thin sheets or stretched into wires to make new products. They are generally found in igneous rocks that are formed by cooling and solidification of lava or magma.

Generally, metallic minerals are hard and have a shiny surface, so some of them can be used as gems in jewelry. They are also used in various industries for different purposes, e.g. silicon, which is obtained from quartz, is extensively used in the computer industry; aluminium which is obtained from bauxite is used in automobile and bottling industry.

Metallic minerals are classified into two categories:

1) Ferrous minerals: The metallic minerals that contain iron are known as ferrous minerals. In the total production of metallic minerals, 75% is constituted by ferrous metallic minerals. Its common examples include iron ore, manganese, chromite and nickel.

2) Non-Ferrous minerals: The metallic minerals that don't contain iron are known as non-ferrous minerals. They don't have magnetic properties and are generally more resistant to corrosion than ferrous minerals.

Non-Metallic Minerals:

As the name suggests, non-metallic minerals are the minerals that do not contain metals, e.g. limestone, mica, coal, gypsum, dolomite, phosphate, salt, manganese, granite etc. They are used in various industries to produce a variety of products, e.g. mica is used in electrical industry, limestone is used in cement industry. Furthermore, they are also used in the production of fertilizers and manufacturing of refractories. They are generally found in sedimentary rocks that are formed by the aggregation of various materials like minerals, remains of organisms, rock particles etc.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between metallic and non-metallic minerals are as follows:

Metallic minerals Non-metallic minerals
They are the minerals that contain one or more metallic elements. They are the minerals that do not contain metallic elements.
They are generally hard and have a shiny surface. They don't have a shiny surface and are not as hard as metallic minerals.
They are mostly found in igneous and metamorphic rocks. They are mostly found in sedimentary rocks.
They are ductile and malleable, can be beaten into sheets and stretched to produce wires. They are not ductile and malleable, so they break into pieces when hit hard.
They are a good conductor of heat and electricity. They are a poor conductor of heat and electricity.
They can be melted to produce new products. They do produce new products on melting.
They are less abundant than non-metallic minerals. They are more abundant than metallic minerals.
Examples: Copper, tin, iron, manganese, gold etc. Examples: Carbon, gypsum, potash, precious stones, boron, sulphur, mica, quartz, dolomite, diamond etc.
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