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Related to Chalcocite: arsenopyrite, covellite


Cu2S A fine-grained, massive mineral with a metallic luster which tarnishes to dull black on exposure; crystallizes in the orthorhombic system, the crystals being rare and small usually with hexagonal outline as a result of twinning; hardness is 2.5-3 on Mohs scale, and specific gravity is 5.5-5.8. Also known as beta chalcocite; chalcosine; copper glance; redruthite; vitreous copper.



(also copper glance), a sulfide mineral, Cu2S. Chalcocite usually contains admixtures of Ag; sometimes it contains Fe, Co, Ni, and As. A considerable copper deficit is occasionally observed in its composition.

Three polymorphic modifications of chalcocite are known. The most common is the orthorhombic modification, which at a temperature of 103°C alters to the hexagonal modification. Above 425°C, hexagonal chalcocite alters to the isometric modification. The structure of orthorhombic and hexagonal chalcocite is based on an extremely dense hexagonal packing of the sulfur atoms. The copper atoms occupy triangular vacancies in the plane of the densely packed “sulfur” layers.

Chalcocite is found in the form of fine-grained aggregates or phenocrysts in ores and rock. Crystals are rare, but hexagonal twins are common. Chalcocite is lead gray in color and has a metallic luster. An opaque and brittle mineral, it has a hardness of 2.5–3 on Mohs’ scale and a density of 5,780 kg/m3. It is a good conductor of electricity and an ore of copper.

The most valuable commercial accumulations of chalcocite are associated with the zones of oxidation of copper deposits, where chalcocite is found in association with bornite, chalcopyrite, and other sulfides (deposits at Bisbee, Ariz., and Butte, Mont., in the United States, at Braden and Chuquicamata in Chile, at Tsumeb in southwestern Africa, and at Dzhezkazgan in the USSR). Commercial concentrations of chalcocite occur in copper sandstones and shales. When it oxidizes at the earth’s surface, chalcocite forms cuprite, malachite, azurite, native copper, and other copper minerals.


Mineraly: Spravochnik, vol. 1. Moscow, 1960.
Ramdohr, P. Rudnye mineraly i ikh srastaniia. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from German.)
Yund, R. A., and G. Kullerud. “Thermal Stability of Assemblages in the Cu—Fe—S System.” Journal of Petrology, 1966, vol. 7, no. 3.


References in periodicals archive ?
Drill holes ZFDDH11-190 and ZFDDH11-194 were drilled on the southern portion of this section, 150 and 250 metres south of ZFDDH11-213 respectively, where weak chalcocite enrichment occurs.
Potential further leachable copper resources: Drilling at Nifty last year encountered further chalcocite mineralisation, 40 m beneath the presently planned open pit.
These supergene chalcocite zones, manifested as subhorizonal blankets with upper leach caps, reach ore grades ranging from 1% to more than 10% copper.
A supergene sulphide transition zone is typically found from about 35 to 38 metres downhole consisting of chalcocite and pyrite with minor malachite.
3% Cu, there are large veins of enargite, chalcocite and bornite, the last increasing at depth, separated by chalcopyrite and pyrite zones.
As advised on 5 December 2012, Stage I of the DeGrussa open pit has now been completed, extracting all of the contained DSO chalcocite, together with additional sulphide and copper oxide material which has been stockpiled awaiting processing.
A program of triple tube diamond drilling will determine how much of this may be soft chalcocite and whether significant cavities may be present.
The orebody was similar in origin to other volcanogenic sulfide deposits in the Canadian Shield; however, its content of high-grade chalcocite distinguished it--not only by making it economically feasible to mine but also by providing the source elements needed to form spectacular crystals.
The ore minerals are mainly chalcopyrite and pyrite, with secondary molybdenbite, tennantite, a little galena, sphalerite and chalcocite.
Malachite and azurite, along with primary hypogene chalcocite copper mineralization and the presence of bornite and chalcopyrite, have been identified to at least 100 m of depth.