Can magma be mined for ores and metals? © Getty Images

Can magma be mined for ores and metals?

Mama Mia, here I flow again.

Asked by: Sarah Evans, Sheffield

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Not really. Magma is the molten rock that lies several kilometres below the Earth’s surface. It contains many minerals that we want, but in very dilute form. It’s better to let nature concentrate them for us before we try to mine them.

There are two main processes: Preferential crystallisation concentrates minerals when the magma moves towards the Earth’s surface and cools. Another concentration process occurs when magma dissolves in water and later precipitates in a place that is more convenient to mine.

Should we mine the seabed? © Getty Images

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