Arsenic is typically classified as a metalloid element and may be found in several mineral forms in nature. It is commonly dispersed in small amounts in soil, as well as in larger amounts in gold, copper, lead and zinc ores.
Arsenic's properties may change due to reactions with its environment or the compound it is found in. It may occasionally take form as a metal or mineral, depending on how its molecules are arranged. The most common compound of arsenic is known as arsenopyrite, which is composed of iron, sulfur and arsenic. Due to arsenic's potential environmentally harmful properties, it is harvested during the processing of ores before it may enter the environment.