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Last updated date: 28th Feb 2024
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What is Chalcopyrite?

It is a brass-yellow mineral with a chemical composition of chalcopyrite formula ie. CuFeS2. It has been the most important or principal ore of copper for many years and occurs in most sulfide mineral deposits throughout the world. It is a crystalline mineral that contains sulphides of iron as well as copper. 

The surface loses its metallic lustre and brass-yellow colour upon weathering. It tarnishes to a dull, grey-green colour, but in the presence of acids, the tarnish can develop a red to blue to purple indecency.

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Copper is one of the most important minerals found naturally on the Earth which is considered a good conductor of heat and electricity. It occurs basically in the form of many minerals such as chalcocite, chalcopyrite, azurite, bornite, malachite, cuprite, etc. 

It is found in the seaweeds or the coral reefs and also found in the human body which helps in catalyzing the haemoglobin formulation. On this page, we will talk about one of the important minerals of copper i.e. Chalcopyrite. We will learn about its meaning, chalcopyrite chemical formula or other related aspects.

Chalcopyrite Chemical

Chalcopyrite is known as the copper mineral with its structurally face-centred tetragonal lattice. The most important and major source of copper metal is the widely spread copper-iron sulphide mineral with chalcopyrite chemical formula of (CuFeS2). The specific gravity ranges between 4.1 to 4.3. The mineral in the purest form contains 34.5% Cu, 30.5% Fe and 35.0% S. 

Chalcopyrite and its associated minerals taken from the Dongchuan copper mine in Yunnan, China. To prepare a single mineral of high-purity chalcopyrite the impurities and gangue minerals were manually removed. The primary copper sulfide contained in about 70% of total copper reserves globally in which minerals were chemically analyzed to check the purity.

Chalcopyrite Properties

Chalcopyrite has various properties such as physical or chemical. The most obvious properties are its brassy yellow colour, metallic lustre, and high specific gravity. Although similar in appearance to gold, distinguishing these minerals is easy as gold is soft, has a yellow streak and has a much higher specific gravity. Chalcopyrite is brittle and has a greenish-grey streak.

If we talk about the Pyrite, it is hard enough that it cannot be scratched with a nail but chalcopyrite is easily scratchable. The term " fool’s gold" is more often associated with pyrite because it is more common as well as confused with gold. Chalcopyrite is also confused with gold in such a way so that the name “fool’s gold” is also appropriate. The chemical classification describes it as a Sulfide mineral whereas it has a chemical composition of CuFeS2

How is Chalcopyrite Formed or Occurs?

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The occurrence of this kind of ore in a variety of ore types, dynamic conditions is primary, crystallize from melts as accessory minerals in igneous rocks. They are formed by magmatic wear and thus found in the stratified rocks of the magma chamber whereas some of them are seen in pegmatite dykes and come into contact with metamorphic stones. The others are spread through schist and gneiss. They are also found in volcanic deposits and many volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits containing chalcopyrite are also well known. Some from huge masses as at Timmins, Ontario, to regular veins and disseminations associated with granitic to dioritic intrusives as in the porphyry copper deposits of broken hill, the American Cordillera and the Andes. In Canada, the largest deposit of nearly pure chalcopyrite ever discovered was at the southern end of the Temagami greenstone belt where copper fields extracted the high-grade copper.

Uses of Chalcopyrite

It has some uses which are mentioned below:

  • It is used as one of the most important ores of the Cooper.

  • It looks like gold in appearance, thus used in jewellery as well.

  • The weathered Chalcopyrite is very attractive and it is sold as " peacock ore ".

  • Some of the ores of chalcopyrite also contain significant amounts of zinc that helps substitute for iron whereas others contain enough silver and gold that are the precious metal contents.


It is found in the below-mentioned locations of the world:

  • In the USA, it can be found in mines of Arizona, Bisbee, Cochise Co., Groundhog mine, Vanadium, Grant Co., New York, Rossie lead mines, etc.

  • It is found in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico and also at Huaron in Peru.

  • In Canada, it is found in Rouyn, Quebec, Ontario, Noranda mines, etc.

  • It is also found in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Norway, Japan and South Africa.


The concluded part states the chalcopyrite is the most important mineral ore which has dynamic conditions for different ores. Chalcopyrite has many uses as well as properties which show the changes of this mineral with different compositions throughout the world and these changes can lead to change in their appearances and uses as well. Here, we have covered general information of chalcopyrite, chalcopyrite formula, its various properties, uses or distribution in the world and also have learned where and how it has occurred. This article will help you in increasing your knowledge about minerals and will be helpful whenever you study minerals in Geography or Chemistry.

FAQs on Chalcopyrite

1. Write a Short Note on Chalcopyrite. What is its Chemical Formula?

Answer. Chalcopyrite is known as the copper mineral which is structurally face-centred tetragonal lattice and it is considered as the most important and major source of copper metal that is widely spread copper-iron sulfide mineral with the chemical formula (CuFeS2). It is a brass-yellow mineral that occurs in most sulfide mineral deposits throughout the world. It is a crystalline mineral that contains sulphides of iron as well as copper. The surface loses its metallic lustre and brass-yellow colour upon weathering. It tarnishes to a dull, grey-green colour, but in the presence of acids, the tarnish can develop a red to blue to purple indecency. This mineral can be found in igneous or metamorphic rocks. 

2. Describe the Properties of Chalcopyrite.

Answer. It has various kinds of properties that define this mineral which includes physical or chemical properties. As per the chemical classification, it belongs to the group of Sulfide and chalcopyrite chemical formula is CuFeS2. It has a greenish-black streak with a metallic lustre. Its diaphaneity is opaque and cleavage is poor. Its Mohs hardness ranges between 3.5 to 4 whereas it has a specific gravity of 4.1 to 4.3. It is brittle and softer than Pyrite. It is found in yellowish colour but can also be found in grey-green or purple colours as well.