Home Minerals Chalcopyrite


Chalcopyrite most important ore of copper mineral in the word for thousand of years. It colour is brass-yellow and tarnishes to gray green and It is chemical composition of CuFeS2. It is hardness of 3.5 – 4 on the Mohs scale and diagnostic properties streak is black green, opaque, with a metallic luster, and poor cleavage with a tetragonal crystal system. Some of this has enough gold or silver that it can be an ore of those metals without the consideration of its copper content. it is softer than pyrite and brittle.

It is source material for many other notable copper-bearing minerals like turquoise, malachite, cuprite, azurite, etc

Usually pyrite is said that a fool’s gold, but because of the rich yellow chalcopyrite tone it is said that mixing with gold is a better candidate.

Association: Sphalerite, galena, tetrahedrite, pyrite, many copper sulfides.

Chemical Properties

Chemical Classification Sulfide mineral
Chemical Composition CuFeS2

Physical Properties of Chalcopyrite

Color Brass yellow, may have iridescent purplish tarnish.
Streak Greenish black
Luster Metallic
Diaphaneity Opaque          
Mohs Hardness 3.5
Specific Gravity 4.1 – 4.3
Diagnostic Properties Color, greenish streak, softer than pyrite, brittle.
Crystal System Predominantly the disphenoid and resembles a tetrahedron, commonly massive, and sometimes botryoidal.
Tenacity Brittle
Fracture Irregular/Uneven
Density 4.1 – 4.3 g/cm3 (Measured)    4.18 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Properties of Chalcopyrite

Anisotropism Weak
Cleavage Poor on {011} and {111}
Color / Pleochroism Brass-yellow, may be tarnished and iridescent
Optical Extinction  
Twinning Twinned on {112} and {012}, penetration or cyclic.

Occurrence of Chalcopyrite

Chalcopyrite formation is under a variety conditions. It may be some is primary, crystallizing from melts as accessory minerals in igneous rocks. Some are formed by magmatic wear and are found in the stratified rocks of a magma chamber. Some are seen in pegmatite dykes and come into contact with metamorphic stones. Some are spread through schist and gneiss. Many volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits containing chalcopyrite are known.

The most substantial chalcopyrite deposits to be mined are hydrothermal in beginning. In those, some chalcopyrite takes place in veins and a few replaces USA. Rock. Associated ore minerals include pyrite, sphalerite, bornite, galena, and chalcocite.

Chalcopyrite Facts

  • Weathering process to surface of chalcopyrite loses ıt’s metallic luster and become brass-yellow to a dull-green colour. if chalcopyrite contact with acids color may be develop red to blue to purple iridescence
  • Some weathered chalcopyrite is attracts attention and shops will sell it as “peacock ore”, which is actually bornite.
  • It is similar appearance as pyrite and gold, but distinguishing the difference is easy. Gold is softer and has a yellow streak. Pyrite cannot be scratched with a nail, but it can be easily scratched.
  • Also it is given name “fool’s gold”, because of its similar appearance
  • Many volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits contain chalcopyrite
  • Deposits mined that are hydrothermal in origin are the most significant, with some of the mineral occurring in veins and some replacing country rock.
  • The minerals commonly associated with chalcopyrite include pyrite, bornite, chalcocite, galena, and sphalerite.

Uses Area

  • The most important use of chalcopyrite is an ore of copper for five thousand years.
  • Some chalcopyrite ores consist of some amount of zinc substituting for iron.
  • Some chalcopyrite ores consist of sufficient mining silver or gold.


A very common copper mineral, so only a few outstanding localities can be mentioned.

  • In the USA an important ore mineral at many of the copper mines of Arizona, as at Bisbee, Cochise Co.; large crystals from the Groundhog mine, Vanadium, Grant Co., New Mexico; in crystals from New York, at the Rossie lead mines, St. Lawrence Co.; at French Creek, Chester Co., Pennsylvania; in Missouri, at Joplin, Jasper Co.
  • From Cananea, Sonora, Mexico. At Huaron, Peru.
  • In Canada, in the Rouyn district, Quebec, at the Noranda mine; from Ontario, in the Kidd Creek mine, near Timmins, and at Sudbury.
  • In Slovakia, at Banska Stiavnica (Schemnitz).
  • In the Czech Republic, at Hornı Slavkov (Schlaggenwald).
  • From Freiberg, Saxony; Dillenburg, Hesse; in the Georg mine, near Horhausen, Westerwald; and a number of mines in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
  • At Vinsknoes, Karmoen, Norway. From the Ani and Arakawa mines, Akita Prefecture, Japan. Large crystals in the Nababiep mine, Cape Province, South Africa.


  • Mindat.org. (2019). Bornite: Mineral information, data and localities.. [online] Available at: https://www.mindat.org/min-727.html [Accessed 4 Mar. 2019].
  • Handbookofmineralogy.org. (2019). Handbook of Mineralogy. [online] Available at: http://www.handbookofmineralogy.org [Accessed 4 Mar. 2019].