Minerals ORE Rocks – bESTology Week 8

Published by rrfenton on

Minerals ORE Rocks – bESTology Week 8

Image: mgb.gov.ph

Image: mgb.gov.ph

Pure metals are rarely found in nature.  Virtually all metals are associated chemically with other elements to form compounds known as ores. An ore is a mineral or useful mineral conglomerate for obtaining metals and a deposit is the place where ores are found.

Minerals are combined in ores with elements like sulphur, chlorine or oxygen to form sulphides, silicates, chlorides or oxides.  For example, the chemical formula for chalcopyrite is CuFeS2.  Therefore, chalcopyrite is a copper, iron, sulfide mineral and is often found in sedimentary rock deposits.  Prior to mining a deposit such as chalcopyrite, a feasibility study must be generated to calculate the associated cost to mine and extract the mineral and to determine the value of the final product.

Chemists and chemical engineers play a key role in mining ores, extraction of metals and determining the feasibility of such a project.  Let’s extract this week’s bESTology.


Data Mining:  We are surrounded by symbols in our daily lives, i.e., road signs, alphabet, braille, binary code.  The periodic table is a chart of chemical symbols each representing an abbreviation or short representation of a chemical element.  Examine your surroundings and locate five (5) types of metals, then predict the chemical symbol for each.  Using the Interactive Periodic Table listed above, compare your prediction to the actual chemical symbol.  Once familiar with the interactive chart, compare and contrast the differences between the six families of metals and define a metalloid.  Analyze the properties of a metalloid and explain their importance in computers and cell phones.

Writing:  Read each of the above feasibility studies and select one of the three that you would support as an investor.  Write a letter to a potential business partner persuading them to invest in this business opportunity.  Summarize the following in the letter:

  • The cost to mine the specific metal(s)
  • The chemistry of how to extract the metal once mined
  • The budget to extract the metal
  • The additional by-products generated during the extraction process
  • The value of the final product and by-products
  • The Return on Investment

The conclusion should convince the other potential investor why their investment would be a sound business decision.

BEST Connection:  Preparing for Pay Dirt 2015, use Microsoft Word to create a tri-fold marketing brochure for your team.  Choose one of the metals in the referenced feasibility studies as the commodity your BEST Company mines.  Include how engineering, science and technology are used to mine and extract your company’s product.  Save your brochure so it can easily be modified and used during the upcoming BEST competition.

Community Connection: Invite a chemist or chemical engineer to visit your class.  Generate a list of questions involving ores, metals, compounds and elements.  Ask your guest to share his or her career and the associated educational requirements to obtain the job. 

Bloom’s Taxonomy:  analyze, ask, choose, compare, contrast, convince, create, examine, familiarize, generate, invite, locate, modify, persuade, predict, prepare, read, save, select, summarize, use, write

Workforce Skills:  reading comprehension, active listening, critical thinking, speaking, active learning, writing, learning strategies, systems analysis, mathematics, negotiation, operation analysis, science, judgment and decision making

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While the information contained in this website has been compiled from sources believed to be current and reliable, Friends of BEST in Alabama, Inc. (FBA) cannot be held responsible for any errors, omissions or content changes. Links made from this website are to reputable organizations at the time of posting. However, FBA cannot be held responsible for content on such linked websites. The existence of such links does not represent an endorsement by FBA of any views expressed or products or services offered.
Categories: bESTology 2015

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