We mine ore so that we can extract precious metals like copper, gold, silver, and aluminum (Al). Since these metals listed above do not show themselves in pure form in nature, the ore usually contains them coupled with other elements. An example would be aluminum and bauxite ore; since aluminum is not found in pure Al form, it is extracted from the bauxite so that we can refine the aluminum and use it in various products.
Copper, gold, and silver do indeed occur in nature as uncombined elements, so native copper or native gold would also be ores for those metals in addition to copper oxides, sulfides, and other minerals.
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