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Any of the 19 chemical elements that occur as minerals and are found in nature uncombined with other elements. They are commonly divided into three groups: metals (platinum, iridium, osmium, iron, zinc, tin, gold, silver, copper, mercury, lead, chromium); semimetals (bismuth, antimony, arsenic, tellurium, selenium); and nonmetals (sulfur, carbon). Members of the group of native elements form under widely varying physicochemical conditions and in very different rock types. Many deposits are sufficiently abundant to be commercially important.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on native element, visit Britannica.com.
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