Common copper-ore mineral, copper and iron sulfide (Cu5FeS4). Typical occurrences are found in Mount Lyell, Tasmania; Chile; Peru; and Butte, Mont. Bornite may form isometric crystals but occurs most commonly as irregular masses. Under appropriate geologic conditions, it alters to chalcocite and other copper minerals.
Learn more about bornite with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Bornite is a sulfide mineral with chemical composition Cu5FeS4 that crystallizes in the orthorhombic system. It has a brown to copper-red color on fresh surfaces that tarnishes to various iridescent shades of blue to purple in places. Its striking iridescence gives it the nickname peacock copper or peacock ore.
Bornite is an important copper ore mineral and occurs widely in porphyry copper deposits along with the more common chalcopyrite. Chalcopyrite and bornite are both typically replaced by chalcocite and covellite in the supergene enrichment zone of copper deposits. Bornite is also found as disseminations in mafic igneous rocks, in contact metamorphic skarn deposits, in pegmatites and in sedimentary cupriferous shales. It is important for its copper content of about 63 percent by mass and is found in Arizona, Butte, Montana, and Mexico.