Ores collection

The Museum's collection of more than 15,000 ore specimens is a valuable resource for the field of economic geology.

The collection contains a wide range of material, from metalliferous soil and alluvial samples to mineralised bulk rock and drill core. Both individual and suites of samples are held. 

Samples in the collection:

  • highlight the occurrence of economic minerals
  • demonstrate the style of mineralisation
  • characterise specific deposit types

More about ores

Research applications

The main purpose of the collection is to support ongoing research within the Museum and the wider academic community. This is achieved through the management and care of samples, which are acquired via research-based fieldwork or donations from industry and academics. 

Using the collection for research we are, in collaboration with industry, enhancing and developing our knowledge of:

  • mineral exploration
  • ore deposit formation
  • successful extraction and processing of resources

The ores collection is continually growing and we are striving to create a comprehensive, world-class ores database for the economic geology community.


The ores collection offers worldwide coverage, and the wide range of systems and deposit types represented includes:

  • Porphyry base metal-molybdenum-gold systems.
  • Epithermal systems.
  • Submarine exhalative base and precious metals systems.
  • Intrusion-related systems.
  • Low temperature strata-bound base metal systems.
  • Magmatic systems.
  • Placer deposits.
  • Laterite deposits.

The collection houses particularly fine examples of:

  • Mineralisation in south west England.
  • Magmatic PGE samples from Africa and the USA.
  • Carbonate-hosted, Irish-type lead-zinc mineralisation.
  • Epithermal gold deposits in south east Asia and the Americas.
  • Massive sulphide deposits in the Urals.
  • Nickeliferous material from Canada, Australia, Colombia and the USA.
Collections manager
David Smith, Curator.
Mr David Smith

Petrology curator in the Earth Sciences department.

Contact us

Palaeontology collections team

Contact the palaeontology collections team with scientific enquiries about the collections.

Access the ores collection

Please contact our curator to make an appointment:

Helena Toman
Ores Collection Curator
+44 (0)20 7942 6814

We encourage access to our collections and information via:

  • formal research seminars
  • post-graduate teaching
  • Continuing Personal Development courses