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Pseudomalachite

Posted by Roger Lang  
avatar Pseudomalachite
May 19, 2009 08:52PM
    
Click here to view Best Minerals P and here for Best Minerals A to Z and here for Fast Navigation of completed Best Minerals articles.


Can you help make this a better article? What good localities have we missed? Can you supply pictures of better specimens than those we show here? Can you give us more and better information about the specimens from these localities? Can you supply better geological or historical information on these localities?

Below are some first notes I have made about Pseudomalachite. This entry and thread has been made as a place holder for information that you will hopefully contribute about Pseudomalachite. This is my first attempt to do a 'best of' - article so i am looking forward a) to learn on this and b) to invite you all to step forward and contribute about this mineral.

If you have questions about the format that such an article should have, go the the welcome topic at the top of the Best Minerals forum and read what has been posted there. Also take a look at some of the more mature articles that have already been written like Rhodochrosite, Adamite, Millerite etc. You will need also to pick out other images of Pseudomalachite that will go into the article.

Last but not least i decided to try a bit different structure of the article as it has been used in other best of´s. I put this on discussion and it is no problem to reformat the article if your opinion tells me to do. I want to summarize the different habits/formations of Pseudomalachite at the top of the article and then before listing the localities describe the type locality and its specimens. Furthermore i first want to start with a restricted set of localities which seems to be the best - and forgive me that i am a bit focused on european (especially german) sites.

Feel free to give comments, critics etc. ... and as i am no native english speaker please tell me if i made mistakes and blunders (preferred by PM) winking smiley

Cheers
Roger



Pseudomalachite
Cu5[(OH)2|PO4]2, Monoclinic

Silberbrünnle mine, GER, FOV 3 mm © Stephan Wolfsried


The copper phosphate Pseudomalachite is a long time known mineral. The first mineralogist who described it as a discrete species was C.C. LEONHARD in the year 1812. LEONHARD had found a copper mineral in Libethen (L´ubietova, Slovakia) which he called 'Phosphorkupfer' due to its chemical composition. So one should expect that Libethen would be the type locality for Pseudomalachite but the story is much more difficult: In the same publication LEONHARD also mentioned the Rheinbreitbach occurrence but described the Pseudomalachite from there as 'blättriges Olivenerz' and assigned it to be Malachite. More than 20 years earlier Carl Wilhelm NOSE already recognized the mineral as being not malachite but a different species in his description of the Virneberg mine. KLAPROTH made a first analysis of this material in 1801 and HAUSMANN (1813) called it 'Pseudo-Malachite' - in summary reported by J.R. ZAPPE in 'Zappe´s mineralogisches Hand-Lexicon' 1817.

In 1831 GLOCKER introduced the name 'Phosphorochalcit' which is very common on 19th century labels of Pseudomalachite specimens - often varied as 'Phosphorkalzit' or 'Phosphorcalcit'. Diverse other names were created subsequently, as for instance 'Ehlit' and 'Prasin' (BREITHAUPT 1832), 'Lunnit' (Bernhardi 1839), 'Dihydrit' and 'Tagilith' (HERMANN 1846). To complete the confusion german mineralogist SCHRAUF summarized 1879 all copper phosphates under the group name 'Lunnit' including 'Dihydrit', 'Ehlit' and 'Phosphorochalcit'. It lasted until 1950 when the canadian mineralogist L.G. BERRY carried out analyses on diverse specimens in american museums which were labeled as 'Phosphorcalcit','Ehlit', 'Lunnit', 'Dihydrit' and 'Pseudomalachit' and found out that all were the same mineral. He reintroduced HAUSMANNs 'Pseudomalachit', engl. Pseudomalachite, which is still the valid species name today.

Isolated crystals© Saul Krotki 2006
Aggregated crystals© Stephan Wolfsried
Spherical© Paul De Bondt
Botryoidal© tb


The mineral itself may be not that spectacular as the history of its recognition and naming. The colour varies from blue-green via emerald green to dark green with an almost blackish tint. Pseudomalachite mainly occurs as botryoidal crusts or hemispherical aggregates built of microcrystals or as reniform, botryoidal or massive aggregates with a radial-fibrous structure and concentric banding. Individual crystals are rare. They tend to be prismatic or tabular. At the type locality crystals up to 5 mm size were found. It is a typical mineral of the oxidation zone of sulphidic copper deposits.

References:
Berry, L.G. (1950): On Pseudomalachite and Cornetite. - Am. Min. 35, 365-385
Fuchs, H.J., Kalbhenn, S. & Muhr, M. (1986): Rheinbreitbach, mit Schlägel und Eisen - Bergbaugeschichte, Geologie, Mineralien. - Bode, Haltern.
Glockner, E.F. (1839): Grundriß der Mineralogie. - Nürnberg.
Hausmann, J.F.L. (1813): Handbuch der Mineralogie. - Göttingen.
Nose, C.W. (1789): Orographische Briefe über das Siebengebirge. - Frankfurt.
Schrauf, A. (1879): Über Phosphorkupfererze. - Zeitschr. Kryst . 4, 1-33.
Zappe, J.R. (1817): Zappe´s mineralogisches Hand-Lexicon. - Wien.

More references can be found at the mindat-page for Pseudomalachite.


The type locality

Virneberg mine (St. Josephsberg mine), Rheinbreitbach, Germany

A classic Virneberg Pseudomalachite specimen, 4.1 x 3.4 x 3.1 cm© Rob Lavinsky


Geology and mineralization
The Virneberg mine is not only the type locality of Pseudomalachite but also the occurrence where the best and largest crystals worldwide originate. Situated about 3 km east of the township of Rheinbreitbach, not far from the River Rhine, the mine worked on a hydrothermal vein-type deposit hosted by Lower Devonian sandstones, siltstones and shales. The primary mineralization consists of mainly Chalcopyrite, some Galena, Sphalerite and Pyrite and Quartz as gangue mineral. During the Tertiary - about 25 million years ago - a remobilization occurred due to the thermal influence of basaltic magmatism. The ore vein was cut by a basaltic dyke then. This process may have been the cause for the formation of a deeply developed oxidation and cementation zone. Late and post Tertiary uplift and erosion caused the deposit finally to be near to the surface today. The oxidation zone reaches to about 120 m depth, the cementation zone has no sharp border to the primary ore zone and varies between 180 to 230 m where the unaltered primary ore was found. The oxidation and cementation zone produced a very rich and complex paragenesis of secondary minerals - and provided us with some of the best pseudomalachite specimens worldwide and much more. Beside the Pseudomalachite the occurrence was famous for excellent specimens of Native Copper and Cuprite var. Chalcotrichite.

History
The mine has a long history. It is indicated by archaeological finds that mining goes back at least to roman times in the 3rd and 4th century. The first documentation of the mine dates from 1604. The name Virneberg mine can be derived from the old word 'firn' which means old. It was introduced by 'Bergmeister' Christoff Frantz in 1668 to distinguish the mine from the nearby newer 'Im Siepen', later St. Marienberg' mine. In the 1630s mining ceased due to the influence of the Thirty Years' War. In 1694 mining started over again and lasted with more or less success until about 1794 when the French occupied the eastern shore of the River Rhine. During that period, around 1765, the mine´s name was changed to 'St. Josephsberg' which is the official name of the mine but was never really established.

The Rhodius brothers acquired the mine in 1820 and started with the processing of the old dumps by acid leaching. In 1840 the 'Regenten' shaft was sunk and in 1843 a depth of 112 m was reached. 1848s revolution in Germany caused the mining to cease again. The mine was sold then in 1853 to the 'Anonyme Gesellschaft für Rheinischen Bergwerks- und Hüttenbetrieb'. The 'Regenten' shaft was deepened to 132 m and the new 'Alexander' shaft was sunk to the same depth. In 1853 the highest copper ore production was achieved with 2,753 tonnes. A large processing plant was built to process the rich newly discovered ore reserves. The year 1854 marks the absolute peak of copper ore production: 2,753 tonnes were mined then. During the following years the recovery decreased leveling at about 1,000 to 1,600 tonnes per year. A large processing plant was built to be able to process the rich ore falls which had been accessed during that time. At the same time the mining had to move to the north of the mine where the ore was found less deep because the old 16 hp steam machine was not able to perform sufficiently anymore. These problems may have led to a change of ownership. In 1870 the english 'St. Josephsberg Copper & Lead Mining Company Ltd.' company took over the works but had no success.

The company handed the mine over to the also english 'Virneberg Copper-Mining Company' in 1876. From now on the technical development increased rapidly, starting with a 60 feet cornish pump and a new horizontal steam machine at the 'Regenten' shaft. Another steam machine was installed at 'Alexander' shaft which was also able to drive the crushers and other processing installations. Subsequently the two older shafts were put out of sevice and the new 'Hadley' shaft was sunk, named after Sir Alderman Hadley, chairman of the company. In 1877 the processing plant was newly built and in 1878 the 'Hadley' shaft was deepened to 160 m. The Virneberg mine employed 164 persons in 1877. The ore was brought to England for smelting - via the Rhine and Rotterdam to Swansea. About 3,000 hundredweights per month were shipped (approx. 155 tonnes).

In the following problems occured due to damage at the hauling and processing machines, the transport costs increased sigificantly and in January 1882 it was planned to stop mining. The mine director was able to convince the investors to carry on due to the increasing need for copper (electric current cables, phone wires etc.) and the 'Hadley' shaft was deepened again - this time to 220 m. But the high recovery costs and a decreasing price for copper on the world market doomed the mine. End of September 1882 the english company stopped the mining activities. For a short time small amounts of ore still were mined under the supervision of mining director M.K. Roskilley. In 1884 68 tonnes of ore have been
extracted. Roskilley finally closed the mine in 1886 and in 1902 A. Mannesmann purchased the mine from him. Some exploration took place but the mining never was resumed.

Crystal aggregates on matrix, FOV 6 mm© 2005 M. Kampf
Crystal aggregate, 0.45 mm©


Pseudomalachite from Virneberg mine
The Pseudomalachite from Rheinbreitbach shows a worldwide unique diversity of habit. The mine was the first wehere isolated Pseudomalachite crystals were found. They reached a size of up to 5 mm which still can be considered to be the largest of the species worldwide today. A very common formation at Virneberg are radial clusters of sheet-like crystals forming balls and botryoidal crusts with small crystal faces at the surface. Also reniform and spherical aggregates with acicular radial structure have been found frequently as well as botryoidal, spherical and concoidal masses with concentrical banding. The main accompanying mineral is Quartz which mostly forms the matrix of the Pseudomalachite specimens, but also occurs as thin layers of chalcedony and microcrystalline quartz resp. covering the Pseudomalachite aggregates.

Until the late 1980s the old dumps still produced nice Pseudomalachite specimens and also other mineral specimens. In the 1990s the area was fenced and used for a deer park. Most of the area of the former mine is in private property and new finds are almost impossible now. Pseudomalachite from Rheinbreitbach can be seen in numerous international mineral museums. Some very good specimens are for instance in the collection of the Mineralogical Museum of the Bonn University (Poppelsdorfer Schloss), the Aachen University (RWTH) and in the Museum of Natural History of Bern, Switzerland.

It should be noted that Pseudomalachite was also found in several other mines of this ore district, for instance Clemenslust mine, Aurora mine and Venus mine. The latter are situated near the village of Obererl which was formerly named 'Ehl'. This is where the old name 'Ehlit' for Pseudomalachit originates.

A very detailed description of the Virneberg mine and its minerals can be found in the german publication Fuchs, H.J., Kalbhenn, S. & Muhr, M. (1986): Rheinbreitbach, mit Schlägel und Eisen - Bergbaugeschichte, Geologie, Mineralien. - Bode, Haltern (GER), where most of the infos compiled in this article are taken from.

Compiled by Roger Lang, 2009.

Pseudomalachite
Australia

Mt Glorious Mine, Queensland
We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.

Pseudomalachite
Austria

Kohlberg Mountain, Lower Austria

We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.

Pseudomalachite
Belgium

Salm-Château, Vielsalm, Luxembourg Province
We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.

Pseudomalachite
Chile

Manto Cuba Mine, Atacama Region
We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.

Pseudomalachite
Congo, Democratic Republic of

M'sesa deposit, Kambove, Katanga (Shaba)

Pseudomalachite, 67 mm© Paul De Bondt

We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.


Pseudomalachite
Germany


Silberbrünnle Mine, Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg

Pseudomalachite, FOV 5 mm© Stephan Wolfsried
Pseudomalachite, FOV 3 mm© Stephan Wolfsried

We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.

Lichtenberg Copper Mines, Franconia, Bavaria

Pseudomalachite, 5 x 3 x 3 cm© Klaus Ludwig
Pseudomalachite, FOV 33 mm© 2005 M. Kampf

We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.

Reichenbach, Odenwald, Hesse
We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.

Obererl (Ehl), Linz am Rhein, Rhineland-Palatinate ('Ehlite')

Pseudomalachite FOV 2.5 cm© Peter Haas
Pseudomalachite on Chalcedony, 77 mm© Paul De Bondt


The Venus, Aurora and Minderberg mines near Obererl produced some very nice specimens similar to those of the Virneberg mine. The mines were active in the early 19th century so specimens from there are rare.

We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.

Virneberg Mine (St Josephsberg Mine), Rheinbreitbach, Rhineland-Palatinate (TL)

Pseudomalachite
Italy

Funtana Maggiore Prospect, Montresta, Sardinia
We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.

Pseudomalachite
Portugal

Miguel Vacas Mine, Pardais, Évora District
We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.

Pseudomalachite
Russia

Turjinskii Mine, Urals Region
We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.
Mednorudyanskoye Cu Deposit, Nizhnii Tagil, Urals Region ('Tagilite')
We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.

Pseudomalachite
Slovakia

L´ubietová, Banská Bystrica Region
We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.

Pseudomalachite
United Kingdom

Cornwall, England (maybe diverse pictures from different localities but summarized under Cornwall!)
We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.

Pseudomalachite
USA

Thornton pit, Gila Co., Arizona
We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.
Schuyler Copper Mine, North Arlington, New Jersey
We need someone to tell us about the pseudomalachites from this locality infos/history about.



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Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 07/26/2010 10:03AM by Rock Currier.
avatar Re: Pseudomalachite
May 20, 2009 06:02AM
Roger, Good work. In a few days when I can find the time, Ill go in and do a little tweaking of the images to make them look a little better.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar Re: Pseudomalachite
May 27, 2009 01:41PM
    
The best Cornish psuedomalachites came from a few mines in the Gwennap area (best known are probably those from West Wheal Virgin) and from Wheal Phoenix and neighbouring mines (Caradon, etc.).
avatar Re: Pseudomalachite
June 08, 2009 08:27AM
    
Roger and all,

Great article. Congratulations.

The M'sesa mine near Kambove in the Democratic Repuplic of the Congo produced some of the finest Pseudomolachites known.
I will provide you some pictures of them and try to get in contact with some people who went to collect there in the 50's ( probably in Ste Marie or at latest at the Liège show in november )
Unfortunately, my good old friends Gilbert Gauthier, J.M. Pendeville and Joseph Lhoest are not among us any more.
They could have provide some very accurate information about the site, and others in Katanga.

Take care, best regards and keep on the fine articles.

Paul.
avatar Re: Pseudomalachite
June 08, 2009 12:54PM
    
Hi Roger and all,

Here is one of my M'sesa pieces.

© Paul De Bondt

Take care ad bes regards.

Paul.
avatar Re: Pseudomalachite
June 08, 2009 01:17PM
    
Paul,
thanks a lot .. already added. Unfortunately i have not much time to work on the article at the moment .. will go on asap. Maybe we´ll meet at Ste. Marie? I will be there from Wednesday to Saturday,
cheers
Roger
avatar Re: Pseudomalachite
June 12, 2009 11:18AM
    
Hi Robert,

OK I will be there also but unfortunately not untill saturday.
My friend in the area, where I stay normally, just called me to say he will be in Canada during the show.
As I did'nt reserve a hotel, it will be hard to find one, so close to the show.

We keep in toutch.
I hope meeting you there.

Take care and best regards.

Paul.
avatar Re: Pseudomalachite
July 08, 2009 01:08PM
    
Hello,

Silberbrünnle Mine, Haigerach Valley, Haigerach, Gengenbach, Black Forest, Germany:

This ancient mine lies about 8 km N of the historical town of Gengenbach, which is situated 20 km E of Offenburg in the Kinzig Valley. The mine has been mined in 15 th/16 th century and last examinations took place in 19th century. You can look up my article at http://www.mineralienatlas.de/lexikon/index.php/Deutschland/Baden-W%FCrttemberg/Schwarzwald/Gengenbach/Haigerach/Silberbr%FCnnle]Silberbrünnle[/url]. You can put parts of the text written there here (but not the photos without permission of the copyright holder).

The main vein consists of quartz, often pseudomorphs after baryte, sometimes red or grey chert. Chalkopyrite grains, often with chalkocite or digenite rims, lieing in massive quartz being the main ore mineral. Others are emplectite and galena (the latter in chert). Limonite pseudomorphs after carbonate xls as well as limonite-manganese oxide zones are possible evidences for an older mineralization stage with baryte-siderite-(calcite) (as it can be seen in some veins of the same striking direction east of the Silberbrünnle vein, forming one lineament of different veins).
A chert vein discovered nearby around 10 years ago has grey chert with galena and very little schapbachite (not matildite but cubic one, often referred to as cuboschapbachite now).

Pseudomalachite is the main secondary mineral there, besides the most commo limonite. Other common ones often associated with pseudomalachite are: agardite (so far members dominant in Ce, Nd and Y as well as Ca (Zálesíite) have been obtained) and malachite, other common ones are rhabdophane (Ce, La, Nd), beudantite/segnitite and olivenite. The pseudomalachite does occur in different forms:
- mainly botryoidal, kidney-like or spherical blush green aggregates very similiar to the ones from the type locality,those can reach about fist-size (having found one with 5 cm in diameter, sitting in a fist-sized quartz rock with lots of other pseudomalachite in it and several other in my personal collection).
-nice prismatic xls, often forming balls or roses, often emerald green, clear and highly lustrous. Agardite fibers can be on top of the aggregates, but at one piece agardite is older and the ends of the fibers are covered by pseudomalachite xls.

Regards,
Sebastian Möller
avatar Re: Pseudomalachite
July 08, 2009 01:26PM
    
Hello Sebastian,
thanks a lot, saves me quite a bit work as i already sorted out my literature like Walenta, Bliedtner/Martin, Fricke etc. B)- Will add the infos to the article asap i find the time ... may last a bit but will happen before winter B)

thanks a lot again,
cheers from Mainz,
Roger
avatar Re: Pseudomalachite
November 20, 2011 09:57PM
    
Hi Roger,

Sorry for the late reply concerning pseudomalachite.
I had a little time this WE and took some pics.
Also one of a specimen from M'sesa, completely different than the " usual " specimens.

[www.mindat.org]

Just take a look and if it fit in the article, just go ahead.

Thank you in advance.

Take care and best regards.

Paul.
avatar Re: Pseudomalachite
April 03, 2012 10:20AM
    
Hi Roger,

It's time to come out of your hibernation on the pseudomalachite article ( lol).

I have added 2 specimens from the M'sesa mine who are a standard for the specie, for that locality off course.

[www.mindat.org], the other one in the message above.

Will probably upload a specimen from the St Jean vein in Ste Marie-aux-Mines. Not so spectacular than these above but a good locality specimen.

Zenjoy.

Take care and best regards.

Paul.
Ignacio Jordan
Re: Pseudomalachite
March 11, 2014 02:28PM
Hey guys, i am chemical engineering student from Chile, at the moment i am working on my thesis at Minera Escondida in Antofagasta.
I´m actually optimizing the "resources estimation model" for a new ore and i need as much information about pseudo malachite as i can get. I was hoping that someone here could guide me with this because i havent been able to get too much information.

Here are my emails where you can contact me, please if you have anything that could be useful regarding pseudo malachite or its leachability i would really apreciate it.

ignacio.jordan@alumnos.usm.cl
ignacio.ia.jordan@bhpbilliton.com
nasho89@gmail.com
avatar Re: Pseudomalachite
March 11, 2014 04:15PM
Ignacio,
I would advise you to repost your request in one of the other forums. With luck it will be seen by someone who knows more about Pseudomalachite. I assume that you have already looked up the physical, opticla etc data on this site. What more information would you like to access?

Rock

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar Re: Pseudomalachite
March 11, 2014 04:23PM
    
I second Rock´s suggestion. This thread is less populated recently confused smiley (i have NO spare time at all at the moment) and the information aggregated here is from the books and articles i have in my library which is more focused on historical stuff.

Cheers
Roger
Re: Pseudomalachite
March 11, 2014 05:02PM
    
Hi Roger, I'll work on Miguel Vacas, Portugal. Please send me a pm with yr e-mail. Cheers, Rui
avatar Re: Pseudomalachite
March 11, 2014 05:57PM
    
Rui, you have a PM,
cheers
Roger
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