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The story takes place in the far future. It involves space exploration and inhabiting new planets.

The new overlooked mineral is an "associated mineral" - it occurs where the new metal is found. The new metal (unlike the mineral) is the one that prospectors found valuable.

That new mineral is postulated by an Artificial Intelligence. The humans probably didn't think the ore was valuable or something. What is that something?

In any case, this Artificial Intelligence has figured it out how valuable the overlooked mineral is.

Would it be that they, the prospectors, considered the ore useless or maybe the mineral is too advanced for them to do something useful with it?

What is a reasonable explanation as to why the prospectors either wouldn't notice or discover the new mineral? Or if they discover the new mineral, why they would ignore it?

The concept of an Extended Periodic Table is used. Which includes includes this new mineral.

This mineral is precious because it will go into batteries and it will be more powerful and useful than lithium ion batteries.

Is all of this plausible?

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  • $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 7:41
  • $\begingroup$ New minerals are found all the time. For a (somewhat famous) example, davemaoite was discovered in 2021. (And I really don't understand what you are asking. Could you elaborate a little to make the question clearer?) (Just in case: a mineral is a chemical compound which occurs naturally in pure form as a solid. A rock is a solid aggregate of minerals or mineraloids which occurs naturally.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 7:42
  • $\begingroup$ Um, I don't really know how to ask this question properly. The thing is I need to find out how "associated minerals" work. In my world a precious metal has been found. I am considering if the ore of this metal could contain something more precious which has been discarded because either nobody thought it was important or they knew it's properties but couldn't do anything about it. How do I edit my question to reflect this? Also I hope I have provided some clarity. $\endgroup$
    – itumel
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 7:48
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    $\begingroup$ The terminology is still a bit confusing, as a "new metal" is an impossibility - all metals are elements, and there's no space in the table. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 8:05
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    $\begingroup$ @jdunlop: Island of stability. Good enough for science-fiction. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 8:51

2 Answers 2

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unbihexium#Nuclear_stability_and_isotopes

The activity of 5g electrons may influence the chemistry of superactinides such as unbihexium in new ways that are difficult to predict, as no known elements have electrons in a g orbital in the ground state

Unbihexium is element 126, one of the predicted superheavies. These superheavies will have orbitals no-one has ever observed and the possibility of unusual chemistry.

Your AI understands the 5g orbital. It predicts that Unbi metal can react with lithium, stabilizing it and immensely augmenting its ability to donate ions to serve as a battery.

Your people have unbi ore but the Unbi / lithium combination was not discovered or observed. On advice of the AI (which you should name, and make a character!) they synthesize the combination - which is not exactly a salt nor a covalently linked molecule.

Then they play closer attention to some of the AIs other ideas.

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    $\begingroup$ I also recommend that the discoverer of the Unbihexium ore wants it to be named after himself. Instead, people start calling him Unbi. He is mad at first but comes to like the nickname. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 13:54
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    $\begingroup$ Hopefully Unbi does some amazing things to batteries' energy densities, because anything incorporating it is going to be, itself, extremely heavy. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 17:43
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May be what you are looking for is an isotope.

Consider (normal) water vs heavy water. Same chemical properties and slightly different physical properties. Nobody ever discovered any difference till we get to a usage (nuclear reactors) where the difference matters.

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