Ming Mineral Mine, Newfoundland. 8/4/03 - Day 12


Minerals We're Looking For:
This abandoned mine is definitely not the most aesthetically pleasing one we have visited! The terrain is mainly devoid of living vegetation, and there are tailings ponds of unnatural hues. It does not appear that any form of remediation has taken place at this site.

We are looking for sulfides; CuS2 etc. Clues: Where an iron rust color is visible, there are often other minerals present. Pyrite, FeS2, colored stains in the terrain also indicate the presence of copper. This mine was formerly used for mining copper sulfides and other Cu-minerals to eventually produce copper. Copper's main use in industry today is for electrical wiring. It is the cheapest material and only needs to be coated with rubber or another material to prevent oxidation and provide insulation.


Minerals Visible and Collected Here:
bornite, pyrite, chalcopyrite, arsenopyrite (don't eat it!), trace amounts of gold, galena, and quartz.

Bornite, Cu5FeS4 is a metallic mineral that has a fresh bronze color when fresh, but later weathers to dark blue. It is a copper sulfide. Pyrite, FeS2 aka: fools gold, is a metallic yellow mineral that often is initially mistaken for gold. As pyrite weathers, the Fe and S ions break down. Then, the sulfate may bond with oxygen forming H2SO4, or sulfuric acid. Arseno-pyrite, CuFeS, is a copper iron sulfide. It is silvery in color and, as the name implies, contains amounts of arsenic. Chalcopyrite, CuFeS2, when weathered, reveals brilliant metallic hues of the rainbow, similar to oil on water, ontop of the pyrite yellow. Galena is a lead sulfide, PbS, found near the pyrite adjacent to the tailings pond.

This Site's Geologic History:
The minerals here are all mainly volcanogenic massive sulfides. They were pumped up through the ocean floor by convection currents and deposited in volcanic rocks. When they hit the cold ocean water, they precipitated from the liquid in a cloud resembling black smoke; hence their name 'black smoker deposits." These minerals were later buried by other sediments and uplifted during tectonic events, which pushed them to the surface. The host rock here has been metamorphosed and has a blue-gray sheen to it. This rock is most likely metavolcanic/schist.

click on any picture for a larger view!