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Luzonite - World’s Rarest Copper Ores | Luzon Island, Philippines

Get to know the mineral luzonite, one of the world’s rarest copper ores, and named after the largest island in the Philippines. 

Luzonite is a copper arsenic sulfide mineral. It is an important source of copper, used primarily in wirings and motors of electrical equipment, circuit boards of electronic devices, antimicrobial surfaces of medical equipment, and the making of many alloys like brass and bronze. It was first discovered in 1874 in the Mankayan Mineral District in Benguet province in Luzon island, hence its name. 

This deep pinkish-brown mineral exhibits a metallic luster, a Moh’s hardness of 3.5, and is quite brittle. The crystals are rare and small (up to 2 mm) and commonly associated with the mineral enargite. Luzonite forms in low to moderate grade hydrothermal and epithermal vein deposits. 

In particular, luzonites in Benguet are vein type deposits in basaltic to andesitic lavas from active volcanism that happened about 5 million years ago.

Other noteworthy localities of luzonite include the old Lobo Mine in Lobo, Batangas, as well as Jinguashi Mine in Ruifang District, New Taipei City, and Clara Mine in Oberwolfach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

Photographed above is a luzonite specimen from the National Geological and Paleontological Collections. It has a dimension of 9.7 x 7.1 x 6.2 centimeters and weighs 467.6 grams. It was donated by Lepanto Mine on September 10, 1982. 

NMP continue to be closed to the public but once the museum is allowed to open, NMP will be sure to show you their luzonite specimen.

This 2021, National Museum of the Philippines expands our exploration of our ancient past with the addition of rocks, minerals, and energy resources of the Philippines through #DignayanBiyernes, a new offering from their #MuseumFromHomeSeries. Dignayan is the Filipino word for Geology, and perfectly encapsulates their weekly journey of discovery about the earth heritage of the Philippines. We also used Biyernes to refer to Friday as the common term for most Filipinos.




Text and poster by Jaan Ruy Nogot/ NMP GPD

© National Museum of the Philippines (2021)

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