Colloform mass of silver-white skutterudite associated with crimson-pink erythrite.

Colloform mass of silver-white skutterudite associated with crimson-pink erythrite, from the Bou-Azzer Mine in Morocco

The Museum ores collection of more than 15,000 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 groups of samples are held.

Samples in the collection:

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

The main purpose of the collection is to support ongoing research in the Museum and the wider academic community. Specimens come from fieldwork and donations.

Systems and deposit types represented include:

  • porphyry systems
  • epithermal systems
  • submarine exhalative base and precious metals systems
  • magmatic systems
  • placer deposits
  • laterite deposits

The collection houses particularly fine examples of:

  • mineralisation in south west England
  • magmatic platinum-group element 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

Countries of origin

Worldwide coverage.

Looking for a specimen?

The ores collection is being digitised

Senior Curator in Charge

Dr Giles Miller


Simon Kocher

Any questions ?

If you would like to use any specimens for research   

Collections on the move

We have set out on an ambitious programme to develop a new collections, science and digitisation centre. As we prepare for the move, access to some collections will be affected.

Accessing the collections

Scientists and collections management specialists can visit the collections and borrow specimens for research.

Collections management

Our duty is to provide a safe and secure environment for all of our collections.