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Shinkolobwe U Minerals

Posted by Matt Wall  
avatar Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 02, 2012 07:14PM
    
Hi there everyone,
My name's Matt and I'm looking for any Uranium Minerals from the Shinkolobwe Mine, DR Congo, (especially Vandenbrandeite) any minerals, except Torbernite and Autunite, under the £30 or $50 mark are welcome. Just send me a message, preferably with pictures and I will get back to you!
Thanks a lot,
Matt =)
Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 02, 2012 11:15PM
Sorry i don't have any But Shinkolobwe is one of my favorite places to read about.
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 03, 2012 01:59AM
    
One of the few people who regularly had Shikolobwe specimens for sale was the late Gilbert Gauthier. In the last ten years of his career, he rarely had any specimens under 200 E from that area. Even then, the only reason he had them was that he was the drilling supervisor at Shinkolobwe and he knew all of the Belgian geologists who worked there and he would buy their mineral collections from their estates. Alain Carrion has been selling the residue of Gilbert's dealer stock. Gilbert's personal collection of uranium minerals was sold when his late wife, Germaine, insisted he get those minerals out of the house. That was 30 years ago.

Best Wishes, Van King
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 03, 2012 07:28AM
    
Do you or anyone know where I can get hold of any Shinkolobew U Minerals?
By the way, I have heard of Gilbert Gauthier, I have seen some beautiful looking specimens with a G. Gauthier label on them on the internet somewhere and some of them are amazing.
Thanks for your help!
Matt =)
Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 03, 2012 09:10AM
A symposium on RDC ore geology was held in Tervuren on Dec. 2010, including Shinko ore geology and mineralogy. Several documents (mostly in French) were released on: [www.gecoproject.org].

If not fully satisfying, the documents will help you tracing people active in the field you are interested in. There were no contributions from mineral collectors.
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 03, 2012 12:23PM
    
Thanks you very much for that link, I will look into it!
Matt =)
Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 03, 2012 01:24PM
For the fun, a link that will give you pictures of Shinkolowbe in the old times, more than 50 years ago! (pictures of the mines, the facilities, the visit of the Belgian king in the 1950's...). Although the industrial exctraction begun at a large scale in the 1920's, the needs linked to the 2nd WW justified a big developement of the place!
This is also in these moments than most of the collection speciments went out...
Most of the facilities and the main mine entrance were destroyed, sealed and flooded at independance, since at these times it was very strategical!
Difficult to imagine there was a whole town there...

[www.inchi-yetu.be]

All the best

Valère
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 03, 2012 01:45PM
    
What an amazing link, and an amazing place. Thanks for that Valere, it was really nice to see the social and geological context of the mine. The buildings surrounding it looked so well kept and tidy. The people there genuinely seemed to take pride in "their" mine.
Thanks very much for sharing with everyone Valere.
Keep your comments coming folks!!! =)
Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 03, 2012 08:22PM
Some years ago, I was visiting with Gilbert at Tucson, and talking about the Shinkolobwe Mine. At one point while he was there the mine office had a large display case full of classic and very high quality specimens. A new manager came in, looked at the case, and ordered that all the specimens be taken to the processing mill so that their uranium content could be recovered and sold. No amount of pleading the case for preservation of these very high value specimens changed his mind, so into the mill they went. Some modest amount of uranium was recovered, and historic beautiful classic specimens were lost. Unfortunately, that kind of history keeps on repeating itself even today.
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 03, 2012 09:01PM
An amazing view of a colonial culture back in the day. On my visit to the Congo, I got to the mines in Kolwezi and saw the remains of the colonial infrastructure which was being continuously degraded and tried my best to visit Shinkolobwe. It was just a few Km outside of Licasi, but we needed the permission of the mayor of the town to visit the place and to view mineral collection that was left by the mining company. Both were refused. Knowing what I know now, I should have offered a couple of hundred dollars if someone from the mayors office could accompany us to the mine and act as a tour guide. It probably would have worked. Gilbert Gauthier told me of a particular mine tunnel at Shinkolobwe from which good Torbernite specimens had been collected. He felt certain that the specimens in this tunnel were the result of post mine formation, a bit like the development of stalactites in caves.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 03, 2012 10:18PM
At the Denver show in, I think, 1976, Gilbert had his usual colorful assortment that included most of a 6 foot table of wonderful torbernite specimens. I wonder if these were from that tunnel? I bought a nice cabinet specimen with a small matrix of dark sandstone for $500. The most I had paid for a specimen at that time. Wish I still had it!

Cheers!

Steve
Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 03, 2012 11:19PM
I know of a couple of dealers who still have Shinkolobwe materials for sale, but it is imprudent to discuss this matter on a popular website such as Mindat.

Was it Shinkolobwe that showed evidence of going "critical" ? A natural nuclear reactor.

Has anyone seen a specimen showing direct evidence of such ?

Bart
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 03, 2012 11:40PM
Bart, it was Oklo in Gabon. Wikipedia has a pretty good summary.

Steve
Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 04, 2012 12:07AM
Thanks, Steve !

I would love to have a piece of Oklo, but it would be imprudent for me to receive it, and imprudent for anyone to send it to me.

Here in Seattle we have Homeland Security helicopters flying tight chopper grids 200 feet off the ground. They are equipped with sensitive radiation detection instruments.

Bart
Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 04, 2012 12:28AM
As Oklo stuff is severely depleted in U235, wouldn't it be less highly radioactive than other uranium ores? (Ignoring the usual daughter products.)
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 04, 2012 03:51AM
    
Obtaining specimens from Shinkolobwe is next to impossible as pointed out by Gilbert Gauthier, Armand François, M. Deliens, and P. Piret, in their 1989 Mineralogical Record article "Famous Mineral Localities: The Uranium Deposits of the Shaba Region, Zaire":

"It will be noted that for security reasons (the occurrence being considered a "strategic" mine), visitors have never been granted access to the Shinkolobwe mine since its opening in 1945, and the removal of radioactive samples has been strictly forbidden (with control by Geiger counter at the barrier at the mine exit). Only the Geology Department of Union Miniere has been allowed to remove samples for study to be taken to its mineralogical laboratory in Likasi, while the most beautiful or the rarest pieces were reserved for the UMHK museum there (called the Sengier-Cousin Museum). Thus there are very few private collections containing uranium-bearing minerals from Shinkolobwe"

Many specimens attributed to it likely came from other nearby Cu or Co mines that were not uranium mines but did possess U mineralization such as such as Musonoi, Kamoto, Swambo, Luiswishi, and Kambove (according to Min Record articles).
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 04, 2012 07:01AM
    
Thanks for that guys, I didn't realise how hard it would be to get would of some Shinko material. The mine manager must have been pretty mean and tight with his money to get rid of Gilbert's specimens.
Thanks for all your information, sometimes it's nice to know about the history, as well as the minerals!
Matt =)
Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 04, 2012 09:13AM
For any one eager tu purchase U specimens, there are always one or two dealers solding this type of minerals from Shinkolbwe or Musonoï area.at the INTERMINERAL show held each year in November in Liége (BELGIUM)
I still have some very good specimens from these occurences in my collection, collected there in the time of Gauthier, but Y am not willing to sold them now....Perhaps later?

Roger
Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 04, 2012 09:19AM
    
Shinkolobwe material, as well as other U mineral specimens, does get available from time to time, from various web dealers. However specimens from Shinkolobwe are usually quite expensive, as they tend to be rare, often beautifully crystallized and colorful, and of great interest to rare species collectors.

Here are some examples of specimens recently for sale (admittedly not cheap at all):
[www.irocks.com]
[www.e-rocks.com]

However, with patience and alertness, one can find great bargains in the mineral market - and this includes even the rare U minerals! I have purchased a micromount of beautifully crystallized Masuyite on Uranophane from Shinkolobwe for something like $40-45, and a Vandendriescheite for about $30.

Lefteris
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 04, 2012 09:30AM
    
Hello Matt,
here in europe it's not impossible to get some specimens, but it will be hard to get them through US border controls (if that's your place of living). On belgian mineral fairs you can by regulary old material from Shinklobwe (and Musonoi, Swambo and all the others). In Liege (Lüttich) there is a regulary fair in november. There is a dealer every year, with a table (about 20meters) full of colorful U-Specimens (criticall mass not exeeded smiling smiley ). The prize range will fit your wishes for the smaller and not to rare specimens (including Vandenbrandeite). Rarities in hand-specimens reaching 1000€.
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