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Shinkolobwe U Minerals

Posted by Matt Wall  
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 04, 2012 09:35AM
    
Hi Matt,

Shinkolobwe specimens are difficult to find these days, even here in Belgium.
Very good samples are locked away in collections and museums and higly valued. Finding a " correct " specimen today for €100 is a miracle. Notice that this was always the case. The beauty and colour combo fixes the prices, like on every mineral specimen.

It is true that the mine have been sealed in the past but mining go on this day by illegal diggers.
Google up shinkolobwe and shinkolobwe signal and you will find a bunch of articles explaining the fenomenon.
The Belgians sealed the mine off to be sure the remaining uranium ore could not fall in the wrong hands. With this new generation of diggers, mostly soldiers who haven't been paid for descenia, they try to gain some money that way. A few died in collapsing stopes and the most are working without ANY protection. Nobody knows where the uranium ore is shipped too and will probably fall in the wrong hands. Most ore is shipped to Zambia and from there ........Rumors are going around that Iran is a very good customer but there is no proof of such and personally I doubt that this is the case.
Anyway, somebody must buy this ore otherwise it is useless to mine it.

Gorgeous specimens could be seen in the Tervuren museum but since politicians and ecologists from all kind of horizons, probably suffering from uranophobia or overprotectionism, the collection was sealed off in a especially designed bunker where nobody will see them again. Other museums through the world are doing just the same. Imagine you are hit by 1 µR, you could probably melt down right in front of the display case. And that's a mess to clean up. Ignorance has won over science.

Gilbert Gauthier worked at Shinkolobwe as said above and I knew him very well. He told me one day they stroke a massive uraninite lode who was 3 meters high. They worked it out in a few weeks. Imagine how many millions of R they had taken.

On shows here in Belgium, specimens show up sporadically but always in poor quality. Most specimens are also determined on sight and the specie is in 90% of the cases, wrongly labeled. The minerals from shinko are very difficult to determine because a lot are orange to red and some dealer have a lot of imagination to put an exotic name on them to boost the price.

BTW, autunite was never reported from Shinkolobwe nor any mines in the Copper Crescent.

I hope this helps.

Take care and best regards.

Paul.
Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 04, 2012 09:44AM
    
Paul - indeed, I was very disappointed to see that the mineral collection (including the U minerals) were no longer on display in the Tervuren museum when I last visited it last year.

And as you pointed out, I forgot to mention that U minerals (including those from Shinkolobwe) sold by mineral dealers are VERY often misidentified....
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 04, 2012 12:06PM
    
I really appreciate the work that has gone into the feedback on the Shinko Mine, I never expected so many replies. I am already planning to go to Liege in November to see if I can track down any U Minerals from the stalls there.
Thanks to everyone, especially Paul, Valere, Elmar, Rock Currier and Harold, for all your help. I look forward to purchasing some of these specimens.
Matt =)
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 04, 2012 12:36PM
    
Thank you Matt,

If you wish, I can be your guide as I am attending the show every year.
Just one important thing. Lefteris is absolutely right about mislabeling.
Without pointing out persons, buy what you recognize and dont buy the name on the label.
As a systhematic Katanga collector, I used to do that in the 80's and 90's and all the sayrites, oursinites, bijvoedtites, protasites etc.... where not what was on the label. Even Gilbert Gauthier has been trapped with a parcell of Richetite who was simply black wulfenite.
And top of the bill, no refunding or exchange will be accepted. Gilbert, due to his stature, had some other specimens in exchange. I never did, even with a counter analysis by M. Deliens.
So be aware.

I hope this helps.

Take care and best regards.

Paul.
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 04, 2012 01:42PM
    
Thank you for offering to be my guide, as Valere has already offered I will have to decide who to go with when I go; maybe I could see both of you! =)
Also, thanks for the advice on miss-labelling, I will have to watch out for that!
Thanks very much, Matt =)
Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 04, 2012 01:55PM
    
Paul,

Could you be a little more precise about these Sayrites and Oursinites?

I have a micromount of "Oursinite", which looks just like the ones in the mindat gallery for the species [www.mindat.org]
It is on Uraninite matrix, I don't remember any associations (I will look at it again this evening). Are there any hints to identify true Oursinite?

Also, I recently obtained a "Sayrite" - orange massive "blobs" in massive Uraninite, with some more crystalline Becquerelite. Could it be true Sayrite? It doesn't look any different from a low-quality Curite to me. I have also been offered another "Sayrite" in the past, which was obviously just a brightly colored Soddyite.

Lefteris.
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 16, 2012 02:55PM
    
Matt,

No problemo, I'm always in the vincinity of Valère's booth as he has always good specimens at fair prices. So we can probably meet there.

Lefteris,

Oursinite is a real tough one. As I dont have one either, I dont have any idea what they look like. But according to the article in the MR by Gauthier and Deliens, the mineral is found in association with heterogenite stained secondaries. Drop me a mail if you need more specifications.

Massive orange-red blobs are easily labeled sayrite, protasite etc.... as it will give more profit to the fraudulent dealer.

A trick I use now with dealers, is, that I let him promise that he will refund if the minerals is not what labeled. Dont do this alone as it will be you word against his. Try to have some withnesses of the agreement, preferably people who are well known in the mineral world as references.

I hope this helps and hope to see you in Liège.

Take care and best regards.

Paul.
Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 16, 2012 05:34PM
A dealer friend of mine has a 3cm solid chunk of uraninite with a little bit of gold on it from Shinkolobwe. I believe the price on it is $1000. Everytime I see specimens from this locality they are ridiculously expensive, even the unimpressive ones.
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 16, 2012 06:01PM
    
Rudy,

Yes, I know. I used to sell these for 50 $.
It's the same with Tsumeb minerals. Try to find something cheap from there. Even the stupidiest smithsonite is going thru the roof.
Collectors and dealer know there is nothing coming out of these mine anymore and that boosted the prices.
Lately, I saw a Les Farges Pyro for sale, more expensive than a pyrargyrite from Peru for the same size.
What defines the value of minerals these days. I dont know anymore.

Take care and best regards.

Paul.
Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 16, 2012 06:17PM
Paul and Matt,

I am not sure yet to make a booth this year, I will make one only if I have enough new stuff or duplicates that I can offer at Belgian prices, but whatever, I never miss Liège show which is my favorite in the country! Early wake up needed to get both good stuff at the best price. Belgian collectors are very requiring, liking both quality and reasonnable prices! I no booth, then I would give my hands to help for the set up for the club.

For sure, we'll end up meeting all 3 there, booth or not! Too early to fix agenda, but sharing dinner friday evening in the center of town would be great! There is an hotel at 50 meters from the showplace, along the river! A place ideal for a drink after with local dealers also! That's part of the fun! Paul sure knows better Shinko mineralogy than I does, and I went to Congo last year, so a lot to share!

Rudy,

The mix gold+uraninite is a big classic of Shinko. I am not a U collector, I sent the speciment with gold and a uraninite cube I had as a gift to a friend in Boston, a couple of years ago!

These combo's are so cool, I could not resist when I saw a miniature of uraninite, crudely but crystallized, with gold plates and even little wires in it, in another Belgian show this year, for available for 200 euros! That's Belgian prices...

Best regards

Val
Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
April 16, 2012 07:21PM
Hi! You can ask Jarek Skupniewski at paleonet@op.pl - he got some such minerals once smiling smiley

Cheers!

Luke
avatar Re: Shinkolobwe U Minerals
June 02, 2012 01:05PM
    
Just a message to let everyone know that this offer of buying Uranium minerals still stands, so if anyone has any to sell just send me a PM or message on: juliawall@btinternet.com
Thanks a lot,
Matt. =)
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