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Blue Wing Mine, N.C. - Malachite

When talking about American classic mineral localities the Blue Wing Mine, or Royester Mine; Spring Shaft nestled in the Virgilina District, Granville County, North Carolina does not come up often. This mine was a humid subtropical copper mine that was in production from 1905-1910. It was discovered in the 1890s and prospecting sporadically in the late

1890s until its permanent closure in 1910, though production stopped in 1909.

During its heyday, the mine was not very productive only producing 3000 tons of 2-3% copper ore, which was shipped off to manufacturers in 1909. During this period the mining shaft was 360ft deep and 400ft of new drafts were constructed totalling 1700ft, making 3 mine shafts.

There is little info on this mine due to its short production period and being from the early 1900s. The Us Bureau of Mine explored the property in 1942 by cutting 368ft of trenching and drilling 637ft of the core to carry out a resistivity survey. This drilling didn't hit the main vein and indicated that the footwall of the vein was free of quartz for 150 miles. They revisited in 1966 and then found 4 main shafts in the North end of the mine. The mine opened in a milky quartz vein enclosed by chlorite included quartz and mica-schist. The veins consisted of milk quarts that were brecciated and healed. There were minor calcites and chlorite. The main ore was bornite and chalcocite, minor malachite and cuprite. The US Bureau of Mines also discovered that "valveless" material or "gangue" is what the mines considered a waste product as it was valueless to sell as ore. This gangue consisted of quartz, calcites, feldspar, chlorite, and sericite with limonite after pyrite. Sulfide ore was also dumped by the workers in the 1900s. It is documented that there were very small amounts of chalcopyrite. In 1917 they listed the ore minerals found in order of abundance, this list goes as follows-

  1. Bornite

  2. Chalcocite

  3. Malachite

  4. Azurite

  5. Argentite

All of these were intergrown with the gangue material, which is why so little copper came from this production. All of the minerals were found in 2-6ft thick veins at 65-degree angles.

The malachite, which is listed on my website, formed in layers that were only 0.1-0.2mm thick in concentric patterns. I am so honored to carry these minor historical specimens in my shop for you all to enjoy!

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