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Mineral Properties and Uses

What is Bornite?

Bornite is a copper iron sulfide mineral commonly found in hydrothermal veins, contact metamorphic rocks and in the enriched zone of sulfide copper deposits. It is a common ore of copper and is easily recognized because it tarnishes to iridescent shades of blue, purple, green and yellow. It is often mined as an ore of copper.

Physical Properties of Bornite

Chemical Classification sulfide
Color brownish bronze on a fresh surface, iridescent purple, blue, and black on a tarnished surface
Streak grayish black
Luster metallic
Diaphaneity opaque
Cleavage poor
Mohs Hardness 3
Specific Gravity 5.0 to 5.1
Diagnostic Properties color
Chemical Composition copper iron sulfide, Cu5FeS4
Crystal System tetragonal
Uses Primarily an ore of copper.

South African Bornite
Bornite from Musina, South Africa. Specimen is approximately 3/4 inch (1.9 centimeters) across.

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Bornite from Butte, Montana. Specimen is approximately 4 inches (10 centimeters) across.

Bornite with Iridescent tarnish
Bornite from Musina, South Africa. Specimen on the right shows the typical iridescent tarnish. Specimens are approximately 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) across.

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