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LocalitiesElmwood mine, Carthage, Central Tennessee Ba-F-Pb-Zn District, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

4th Nov 2010 03:40 GMTBob Hembree

The Elmwood mine is back in operation. Nyrstar an international zinc smelting and mining company is reopening the zinc mines in the Carthage, Tennessee area which includes the Elmwood, Gordonsville and Cumberland mines. The Elmwood is being operated through the Gordonsville #3 shaft and incline. The first ore from the Elmwood was hoisted this week.

11th Nov 2010 19:38 GMTUwe Kolitsch Manager

Thanks for info - all 3 mines updated.

13th Nov 2010 21:21 GMTEd Godsey

Do you (or others) have any idea whether the new management will have a 'contract collector' as before?

13th Nov 2010 21:58 GMTBob Hembree

Based on my discussions with mine management when I was there I would say it is unlikely.

31st Mar 2011 22:22 BSTelmwood miner

Bob Hembree Wrote:


> Based on my discussions with mine management when

> I was there I would say it is unlikely.

They instead have decided to start sticking slurry in the vug holes and destroying the specimens. They had lied to all of us in stating they were to be sold for the kids of the community, however upon discovery of some major vugs in 2078#14, 3780#4 along with others, current management destroyed nearly a half million dollars in each vug after extracting a total of 2 or 3 specimens for their personal collections.

1st Apr 2011 00:19 BSTAnonymous User

Thats very sad. Hopefully they come to their senses sooner rather than later...

1st Apr 2011 02:13 BSTBob Hembree

Actually a fairly large amount of specimens were salvaged before the area was mined through. Currently the company is putting together a program to give the specimens to local schools or museums. Also a system is in the process of being established where the minerals that are salvaged will be sold at auction by lot and the money will go to the employee communication network for use in community projects.

Concerning the blasting of pockets this was instituted as a result of some of the employees spending more time collecting minerals than doing their jobs. This has included working in unsafe conditions for which the company would be held liable by federal mine law and others if someone was injured or killed while collecting. The reason the mines were reopened was not for the minerals, but the zinc ore. Unfortunately the best minerals occur in high grade ore zones and that is what is mined. If minerals can be salvaged during the mining process without disrupting the operation then it can happen otherwise it won't. I am an avid mineral collector and hate to see nice specimens destroyed, but I also understand the economics of mining and the money and effort that it would take to mine specimens doesn't add enough value to pay the bills.

1st Apr 2011 23:47 BSTelmwood miner

I call BS. Unless you are sitting in on our safety meetings and personally see miners "taking unneccessary risks" then you don't know. Those vugs listed were covered with brattice bag and recovered with muck for the mine to come and take what they wanted to sell for their BS program. Two members of management came down on that Saturday, took a handful and then had crew A's blaster blast them prior to any other work in the headings. It is the politics of it that is sickening.

2nd Apr 2011 08:21 BSTJake Harper Expert

Holy sincere prayers are with this precious, hallowed U.S. locality --- may its beautiful treasures be secured and protected by caring individuals...


21st Apr 2011 04:03 BSTgold buster

lets see more minerals come out now thanks

23rd Apr 2011 15:20 BSTRowan Lytle

Makes me very mad to hear that they are destroying most of the specimans. What a waste!


It's good to hear that they're sending some to museums though.


6th May 2011 02:36 BSTA Real Elmwood Miner

Let me ask you this Mr. Elmwood Miner, How did you come up with your figure of a half million in each vug? Did you actually see inside of them to know what was in there? And your 2 or 3 specimens was more like 30 to 35 specimens. There was never a couple of members of management to come down. It happened to be one guy from safety that was actually already underground and he carried the specimens that were extracted to the surface. Before you start ranting and raving you need to get your facts straight. Don't get me wrong, I hate that they loaded and shot the pretties in those vugs, but you can't stop production to mine for a few minerals. If we did that we would all be without a job because the minerals aren't going to pay all of our salaries, the ore is. Sounds to me like your mad that you couldn't get in them to dig. Just be glad that some specimens do make it out for the world to see.

6th May 2011 11:17 BSTEvan Johnson

If the account given is true, this is a great shame in my opinion. There are plenty of zinc-producing places in the world, but not all of them produce world-class aesthetic specimens of other species as well. Why is Elmwood known? Not necessarily because of its zinc production, I assure you. Furthermore, large, attractive fluorite specimens are one of the species that nearly everyone can appreciate- even those with only a tangential interest in mineralogy- so something that could be of tremendous public-relations benefits and pedogogical value (one of the first minerals I personally collected was fluorite and it indeed got me interested in the hobby in general).

I understand that profits need to be made to keep people employed and produce resources, but to me something like this is a part of world natural say that something like this should be (or really even legally be allowed to be) destroyed to speed production is like saying that housing developments should be built without forethought to archaeological sites, or dams built without consideration to what is flooded. Some things have a monetary value, and some things have a value beyond money. I sincerely hope the mine management will think about whether tons of locally-sourced but universally available zinc or museum specimens preserved for posterity will serve long-term interests better.


6th May 2011 16:48 BSTKristopher Dingfield

Elmwood specimens are pretty valuable. I would think by weight it is worth more then then ore. I wonder if they would consider spending a day pulling out minerals. Hell I would buy several dozen lots right now.

6th May 2011 17:16 BSTPeter Andresen Expert

Taking the time extracting high quality minerals compared to time extracting ore wil never favour the minerals - that's the fact for all mines operating for ore and not specimens. The only exeptions are in third wourld countries where ore extracting is primitive and more time consuming, and where the miners can put a crystal aside now and then, and like in Dalen-Kjørholt - also famous for great calcites - a mineral interested worker have an agreement with the owners of the mine to extract crystals in his spare time, as long as it's not obstructing production. The last option could of course be a posibility for Elmwood too.

6th May 2011 22:08 BSTRock Currier Expert

I hate to see good specimens blasted into gravel, as much as the next guy, but if it were not for the mining companies mining things, many fewer specimens would be available to us. So the first, most important part is not to impede the mining process to the point that it becomes onerous to the mining companies to preserve the specimens. Yes, the value of the specimens does far outweigh the value of the ore, but they almost certainly do not outweigh the cost to the company of law suits brought by individuals injured or killed while collecting specimens nor the problems caused by insurance companies threatening to raise premiums or cancel policies because of workers involved in unsafe and illegal actions. If we would like to free up the companies to allow more collecting, we need to support changes in the law that will allow waivers of responsibility to really mean something and to raise substantially the bar to initiate law suits and pursue litigation. I have been told that in Japan there are ten engineers for every lawyer. Here in the USA that ratio is apparently reversed.

7th May 2011 03:01 BSTKristopher Dingfield

You guys got me on that one. Both valid points and thanks for the education it does make sence I do consider myself to be somewhat of a newby to mining though I have been a collecter for 18 years I have never worked in the commercial mining industry.

I have been picking up both old and new Elmwood material lately and the combinations are just, well beautiful! I do hope the mine operators can come up with a solution that would bring more specimen material to the market. I would love to see a program that brought specimens to the surface while helping the local community too. What a thought. I would think it would even keep the value at a premium too.

28th Jun 2011 15:24 BSTRowan Lytle

If I could, I would pay THEM to let a group collect a few pockets, sell some of the contents and give them all the money earned, and keep the best pieces>:D< If only I had the money!

-Rowan Lytle

23rd Sep 2011 13:30 BSTJohnVW

Well..the realty for most commercial mining operations is that a lot of specimens are destroyed. Thank God some of the miners appreciate the specimens and bring some to the surface...the best survive for collectors who love them...most people don't care..just rocks. Having said that..looks like some new specimens will be on the market and I am buying...any suggestions on where I can spend my money.

24th May 2012 17:28 BSTEdward Scherf

Does any one know if they are allowing the public in to collect?

24th May 2012 17:42 BSTD Mike Reinke


I'd be amazed if they did. If they wanted the public to come for in, for a fee, they'd surely advertise, and that news would spread through mindat like wildfire.

24th May 2012 18:09 BSTBob Hembree

No, they are a commercial mining operation and have to deal with MSHA (mine health and saftey Admin, US government) and have to worry about the liability involved. Even if they would let you you would have to go through 40 hours of safety training to be able to.

18th Jun 2012 19:59 BSTEdward Scherf

Does anyone have the email address for the elmwood mine. Or even the phone number. I would like see if by some small change they would allow the public in to pick any wear on the site..

7th Jul 2012 02:50 BSTJoe Mulvey

You may want to start formal corrspondence at the top by viewing the contact options on their website:

Good luck!


7th Jul 2012 02:58 BSTJoe Mulvey

For further information contact:

Anthony Simms

Group Manager

Investor Relations

T: +41 44 745 8157

M: +41 79 722 2152

Kate Dinon

Group Manager

Corporate Communications

T: +41 44 745 8154

M: +41 79 722 84 66

Geert Lambrechts


Corporate Communications

T: +32 14 449 646

M: +32 473 637 892

7th Jul 2012 14:01 BSTBart Cannon Expert

As long as this fracas is well underway, I'll add my annoying insight which does not seem to have been mentioned yet.

Al Gore Sr. and noted environmentalist Al Gore Jr. have earned $570,000 on the royalties from the sale of lead, zinc and cadmium from the portion of the Elmwood Complex underneath the Gore farm. Quite a bit of that figure is in 1970s dollars.

Perhaps Al junior could get the Sierra Club to close the Gore portion of the mine in order to preserve and recover some of our national natural mineral heritage, I have a list of nominations for who the collectors might be. I'm not on the list.

There are hundreds of links to the Gore zinc leases. Seems they didn't maintain their lease after the mines closed, but may be actively working on re-activating that lease.


31st Oct 2012 06:45 GMTEVander

I know many miners from the current excavation and I personally know how much is being destroyed to this day. There are a few vaults held for the personal value of a few wealthy people and the rest is destroyed to help the value of current specimen. There will be specimen destroyed that should have been displayed in the finest collections in the world and its a travesty. As a private collector I am saving as many as I can. Elmwood is a messed up as it always has been. By the way Real Elmwood....Your a joke and making excuses for a very few of the people making the decisions. It makes me thing your one of the few making decisions about your own investments. Pathetic!! For the rest of you I actually know what is happening in this mine and its worse than you think!


31st Oct 2012 19:06 GMTNelse Miller

This strikes me as the moral, if not legal, equivalent to shooting snowy owls in order to expidite logging of an old growth forest. Considering the mining practices in other, less "enlightened", parts of the world, we should consider ourselves lucky that mineral specimens are all that are being openly destroyed in the drive for maximum immediate profit.

7th Dec 2012 21:40 GMTRock Currier Expert


Have you ever been underground in Elmwood and collected specimens there?

1st Jan 2015 17:56 GMTR White

Does anyone have a more recent update?

10th Mar 2015 02:43 GMTpam

Pam, this is not a place for free advertising.

Rock Currier

one of the managers

4th Dec 2015 21:18 GMTJonelle DeFelice

I finally looked up ELMWOOD MINE here on the forum, as one of my two only real nifty dealer-purchased mineral specimens is from there. It is a nice blue fluorite example that was purchased on Ebay.

I didn't expect to find out the location is/was a commercially operated raw-material mine! I thought it would be a privately owned area mined by collectors.

Can anyone give me a short (or long, which is fine with me) history of this area? When did mining originally start, and was it always run by commercial mining companies?


4th Dec 2015 21:52 GMTBob Harman

First of all I suggest looking this up online as you will find a wealth of info there on all aspects of your question.

Discovered in about 1969, the mining complex was mined for ZINC. New Jersey zinc company was the mining company and active mining started in about the early to mid 1970's. Mining was stopped about 15 years ago, only to be reopened on a limited basis about 2010. Currently very low zinc ore prices (and, for that matter, many commodity prices) have again forced mining to a halt (as I understand it) in the mining complex. Several mines are in the complex around the towns of Carthage, Elmwood and Cumberland Tennessee. The mine names include the Elmwood mine.

One fun fact is that the land above part of the mines was owned by Vice President Al Gore's family. When mining was to commence, the secret service supposedly came into the mines and checked out the security so no attempt could be made to put the vice president's life in danger thru coming up under his house. Not sure if this is true or urban legend.

When mining commenced, immediately there were very hi quality mineral specimens found. These included great fluorites, sphalerite (the zinc ore), barites and most of all large fabulous orange calcites. All manner of combinations occurred. Pictures of all these mineral specimens can be seen online, in museums, and many private collections etc. The mine management, enlightened and to their credit, decided to get a specimen contract with several professional collectors. This is why so many great examples quickly came out and onto the collector market.

Prices have climbed to astronomical levels for the very best specimens. All these specimen prices are VERY dependent on crystal color, condition, and overall specimen aesthetics. Even the slightest ding or chipped termination on a calcite crystal can reduce the example price by several magnitudes of price.


4th Dec 2015 23:28 GMTJonelle DeFelice

Great summary, Bob! The comment regarding the specimen quality vs. price does seem to effect the fluorite examples listed weekly by the seller I bought from. I am not experienced enough to catch most of the differences, though.

13th Feb 2017 21:57 GMTEdward Bayley

Figured I'd revive this discussion for some updates. There is still a lot of material going around in Tucson this year, but no stories of anything being new. I remembered this article and Nyrstar's announcement of re-opening but am not aware of whether ore is being hoisted or not.

Does anyone know if the mines are still in idle status?

Ed Bayley
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