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Author: Subject: How do you mine for minerals?
Cou
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[*] posted on 22-10-2013 at 14:10
How do you mine for minerals?


Sometimes I look at all these crystals on the internet like galena (lead sulfide) and I go "How do I mine for those myself?" Could I just claim any land for mining and find something, or do you have to go to a special area? I'd like to find compounds myself, instead of buying them.
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[*] posted on 22-10-2013 at 14:16


The first thing to do would be to learn more about geology, so that you know where to look. While you're learning that, you can find out about the laws about mining in your area. There may be a local geology/rockhound club you can join.



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sonogashira
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[*] posted on 22-10-2013 at 14:26


This was recommended by franklyn in another thread:
https://archive.org/details/deremetallica50agri
I've read it myself, and would thoroughly recommend that you do the same!
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[*] posted on 22-10-2013 at 17:53


Life is not like minecraft, ore are not perfectly scattered all around. Minerals form by many way which decide the type of ore an area can have. Some area have almost no metallic ore, but a lot of silicates, other area will have lots of metallic ore. rock can be acidic, basic, ultrabasic etc... This affect a lot ore that form as crystal from a supersaturated matrix.

Some ore are very common all over the world such as pyrite or limestone. Silicates are the most present rock type.




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elementcollector1
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[*] posted on 22-10-2013 at 17:55


I'd frankly recommend rock shops if you're looking for mineral specimens - mining your own is often tedious and yields little payout. Occasionally, you get some really good stuff, but most of the time it's pretty boring. A good example, assuming you're in the U.S., is visiting the sapphire mines in Montana, or the star-garnet mines in Idaho (both of which I've obtained great samples from). It usually took about 2-5 hours to get anything good.



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plante1999
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[*] posted on 22-10-2013 at 17:59


Quote: Originally posted by elementcollector1  
I'd frankly recommend rock shops if you're looking for mineral specimens - mining your own is often tedious and yields little payout. Occasionally, you get some really good stuff, but most of the time it's pretty boring. A good example, assuming you're in the U.S., is visiting the sapphire mines in Montana, or the star-garnet mines in Idaho (both of which I've obtained great samples from). It usually took about 2-5 hours to get anything good.


Well, it depends on what you mine, I have got pretty large stock of dolomitic calcite here. I took a chisel, made hole directly in the rock put water and a cap of clay and waited until the next summer to get the rock pieces out, Fire setting is good too. Energetic are great but too loud and illegal.




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violet sin
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[*] posted on 22-10-2013 at 19:00


I suggest asking locals near you. Several times I ran into people at the local flea market selling low grade rocks. Low grade because the were locally found, and who wouldn't keep the best pieces home after all the hard work right? But I was told of a pyrite spot about an hour away, copper ore half hour drive, agate 10 min drive and more. Worth asking those that know. The local gem and mineral society is even better if you have one. We do, and this town is ~6000 or less population. Barely have a decent hospital here, but rock enthusiasts yes sir.

Personally I prefer to alternate between reading and going out looking. Rocks rarely look like the samples in books because of what plante1999 said: different land, processes, mineral balances, water flow etc. etc. but I always get a lill exercise and fresh air regardless. Can't always find perfect specimens, but last week I found some nice terminated quartz with bands of emerald green under the points and through the matrix :) was a bear to haul that bad boy back to the truck, while bushwacking and crawling on hands n knees with my rifle looking for a buck. Fun and rewarding, though no deer for me yet this season. I'll try to add a pic in a while, but the color is hard to see by picture until I get time to clean it up.
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[*] posted on 24-10-2013 at 06:22


If you want galena, then you have to find out if there are such deposits in your area. Simple as that.
If you feel like it, you can go out and look at surface rocks.

I have found small quantities of pyrite, and what looks like some copper carbonate (blue amorpheus).
I have found black crystalline mineral but I have no idea what it is. It isn't radioactive anyway.
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[*] posted on 24-10-2013 at 06:43


Quote: Originally posted by vmelkon  
I have found black crystalline mineral but I have no idea what it is. It isn't radioactive anyway.
Please post a picture of this.



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elementcollector1
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[*] posted on 24-10-2013 at 06:56


Could be a lot of things, really - obsidian, schorl, hematite...
The crystal habit should tell us more.




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[*] posted on 26-10-2013 at 06:22


Quote: Originally posted by bfesser  
Quote: Originally posted by vmelkon  
I have found black crystalline mineral but I have no idea what it is. It isn't radioactive anyway.
Please post a picture of this.


I'm going to attach 3 pictures here.
Also, I have seen this mineral downtown as part of buildings. They use it sometimes instead of granite.

mineral1.jpg - 94kB mineral2.jpg - 92kB mineral3.jpg - 80kB

[Edited on 26-10-2013 by vmelkon]
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hyfalcon
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[*] posted on 26-10-2013 at 06:27


Looks like a shale to slate to limestone combination.
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[*] posted on 26-10-2013 at 15:05


for gold you will sometimes find some areas with lots of gold.. mainly gold nuggets are found where there have longer time ago been running rivers which has then been carrying them around, or so i was told, although i cannot imagine water pushing gold, 19.3 times heavier than water around.. ohwell

procedure is different, i know that for strontium (not sure what ore it was) hydroflouric acid was used on the rock powder

for iron you powder the ore and tumble it with some sort of magnet collection drum and heat it up with charcoal

Fe2O3 (Fe3O4?) + CO > CO2 + Fe (not balanced!!)

always thought the idea of producing clean materials yourself would be very interesting..

the way you 'find' minerals is dig down in the ground, attempt to find something interesting, and then analyze what it is.. nowadays you can get electronical equipment you hold against a specific ore and it will tell percentages of elements in it, dont ask me HOW that works tho

actually once i was given a rock with very shiny flat surfaces on it, very shiny pieces, it had been laying around outside in the rain, never got to find out what those metallic chips was, probably zinc, but just seems strange that it wouldnt get an oxide layer, silver just doesnt sound right to find randomly like that..

you could potentially break the rock ore into smaller pieces with a very strong flame (hydrogen from NaOH + aluminium i have just today seen as working for this on smaller rocks within several seconds)




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[*] posted on 26-10-2013 at 15:26


Some harder to obtain stuff, like masses of fluorite, cinnabar and sulfur minerals would be my wet dream. Well, why not a bunchload of uranium too. :D

But yeah, one does not simply mine useful minerals out of any rock accumulate. You could whack around a hundred years finding nothing but few pieces, but if you manage to find a source for some minerals, you could, if being lucky, find thousands of tons of some stuff. :D

Minerology or whatever it is called, is perpetrated in large, highly technicalized state today, using as much as satellites and sample analysis to discover larger sources. For a hobbyist, finding even a ton or two would be a lifetime supply of just about anything, but for industry, they rarely bother to speak stuff that cannot be described in kilotons, except for rares, of course.
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[*] posted on 26-10-2013 at 15:38


Quote: Originally posted by hyfalcon  
Looks like a shale to slate to limestone combination.


Does shale come in large crystal form? The shale I have seen are like layers of very fine crystals, like seen on the wikipedia page.
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[*] posted on 26-10-2013 at 21:04



The existence of larger crystals suggests a rock that was produced at depth (slow cooling), not at or near the surface - a plutonic rock. Lots of minerals form decent sized crystals under such circumstances. I'd look at the feldspars and pyroxenes just because I know both of those mineral groups are common and have some very dark-colored subtypes...





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[*] posted on 1-11-2013 at 14:15


Quote: Originally posted by Cou  
Sometimes I look at all these crystals on the internet like galena (lead sulfide) and I go "How do I mine for those myself?" Could I just claim any land for mining and find something, or do you have to go to a special area? I'd like to find compounds myself, instead of buying them.


Most rare earth metals and minerals are trapped deep in the ground. Say you did get access to a site, and were able to extract ore; you would then need to chemically/mechanically separate them from the ore. Crystals are a rare find and even if you were to stumble upon something like Opal or Quartz it would for certain not be in you back yard. AND IF you had some kind of mineral deposit on your property, you would absolutely need permits, etc to even think of extracting the minerals. The gov't will want their tax!

Anyways, if you are just interested in making quick money, then forget it. Small time prospecting is done in far off and dangerous areas. Even then you require industrial equipment. If you just want to make crystals and learn perfect upon re-crystallization technique for lab then buy some Copper Sulfate. Bismuth is another fun element to make crystals with.
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[*] posted on 1-11-2013 at 21:27


Quote: Originally posted by Chemstudent  
Most rare earth metals and minerals are trapped deep in the ground.
Did you read that on the back of your morning cereal box? If you don't really know what you're talking about, please just don't post on the topic. Your post deteriorated from there on. Sorry to be so harsh, but the misinformation bothers me a great deal. I'd honestly like to be proven wrong, by you posting citations for your speculation and erroneous generalizations—sadly, I doubt it will happen.



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[*] posted on 1-11-2013 at 22:33


Quote: Originally posted by bfesser  
Did you read that on the back of your morning cereal box? If you don't really know what you're talking about, please just don't post on the topic. Your post deteriorated from there on. Sorry to be so harsh, but the misinformation bothers me a great deal. I'd honestly like to be proven wrong, by you posting citations for your speculation and erroneous generalizations—sadly, I doubt it will happen.


Wait - so RE metals are primarily found in surface deposits? Not contradicting you here, just interested to know. The two important RE minerals I know of are monazite and xenotime, both of which are seemingly hard to find outside of Chinese mines. I have heard of monazite sand deposits, but have been unable to find any.




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[*] posted on 2-11-2013 at 09:08


No, I didn't mean to say that rare earth (RE) metals are found primarily in surface deposits. But I think that saying they're only found deep underground is fallacious. As an example (perhaps an exception) to the contrary, I'm aware of the existence of some <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guarapari#History" target="_blank">coastal beaches in Brazil</a> <img src="../scipics/_wiki.png" /> where the sand is composed heavily of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monazite" target="_blank">monazite</a> <img src="../scipics/_wiki.png" /> grains; to the point where the gamma radioactivity is alarmingly high. You probably wouldn't want to sunbathe on this sand every weekend for the rest of your (shortened) life.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvgAx1yIKjg" target="_blank">brazil 2012: sunbathing on radioactive beaches</a> <img src="../scipics/_yt.png" /> (bionerd23)
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSfNxmvnBZk" target="_blank">brazil 2012: gamma spectroscopy of the radioactive beach in guarapari</a> <img src="../scipics/_yt.png" /> (bionerd23)
Not particularly deep: <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R748lCp8Fic" target="_blank">Supply of Rare Earth Minerals about to climb</a> <img src="../scipics/_yt.png" />

P.S. If we have any members who happen to live near one of these beaches; I'd pay you to collect and ship a bit of sand for my collection.




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[*] posted on 4-11-2013 at 13:33


Quote: Originally posted by bfesser  
P.S. If we have any members who happen to live near one of these beaches; I'd pay you to collect and ship a bit of sand for my collection.


As would I. Every now and then I do a search on eBay for monazite sand, because I'd love to do some experiments on separating the different rare earth elements contained within. To a point, at least - some are incredibly hard to separate and would be beyond any home attempts I'm sure. Still would be a fun endeavour.
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[*] posted on 4-11-2013 at 14:17


Sadly, the eBay samples seem to be always ludicrously priced.



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[*] posted on 22-11-2013 at 12:52


Quote: Originally posted by Cou  

"How do I mine for those myself?" Could I just claim any land for mining and find something, or do you have to go to a special area? I'd like to find compounds myself, instead of buying them.


You're not the only one! What you can get depends on where you are.

I live in Middle Tennessee, land of near-infinite limestone. I've made crude Quicklime and hydrated lime from a local interstate road cut.

There are Zinc mines here too, but they are deep and inaccessible to me.

Outside of Tennessee, I harvested coal from a road cut in Beckley West Virginia and Iron Pyrite (small flakes) from a gold creek near Boise, Idaho.

It's not mining per se, but you can also recover useful chemicals from other stuff. I've successfully recovered Gold from electronic scrap and a tiny amount of salts from wood ashes.

Are you in the USA?
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Cou
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[*] posted on 12-10-2014 at 19:29


Well, even the soil in your backyard is made of various elements... perhaps you could smelt iron by heating it to about 1250 C in a furnace, but i don't know what soil is really made of

[Edited on 13-10-2014 by Cou]
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[*] posted on 12-10-2014 at 19:50


Quote: Originally posted by Cou  
Well, even the soil in your backyard is made of various elements... perhaps you could smelt iron by heating it to about 1250 C in a furnace, but i don't know what soil is really made of

[Edited on 13-10-2014 by Cou]


It differs ENORMOUSLY depending on location, but typically a whole lot of silicates containing group 1 or 2 elements, iron, magnesium, or aluminum, along with all sorts of oxides. That and organic matter in the form of both living and dead organisms.




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