Recently, researchers from Slovakia, the Diamond Lightsource and London’s Natural History Museum found a new mineral when they were studying a liroconite sample. Liroconite is a mineral colored bright blue that was recovered from a Cornwall mine more than two centuries ago.
In an attempt to curate the mineral properly, lead researcher Mike Rumsey noted that the mineral’s color varied from bright blue to emerald green. In a media statement, he explained that the researchers discovered that the mineral samples that were a dark-green shade were relatively chemically different to the bright-blue mineral samples. This was their basis for categorizing the different shade mineral as a new species.
Kernowite, the name of the new mineral species, was derived from Cornwall’s Cornish word, kernow. Cornwall is the only location where the mineral has been retrieved. Additional details concerning the existence of the new mineral will be reported in the “Mineralogical” magazine.
In order for a mineral to be categorized as a new species, the mineral in question needs to fulfill various criteria. These mainly include determining the mineral’s chemistry as well as how the atoms in the mineral are arranged in a 3D space. In addition to this, the mineral’s crystal structure, i.e. how the arrangement duplicates itself to form crystals, is also considered.
Rumsey explained that in liroconite’s crystal structure, one of the positions filled by an atom can contain either iron or aluminum. For the mineral itself, however, this position is predominantly filled by aluminum, which may explain why the crystals are usually a shade of blue.
On the other hand, this position in kernowite is filled by iron, which results in a physical crystal that’s a green shade. Rumsey explained that the researchers believe that the more iron is present in the mineral, the darker the shade of green it will be. However, more samples and research are needed to confirm this theory.
Apart from the difference in chemical compositions, both minerals possess the exact same crystal structure. This means that all the atoms occupy the same positions. Kernowite was retrieved from a location called Wheal Gorland, which is where most of the liroconite used globally is obtained from. The mine from which it was recovered has sadly been demolished. However, records show that it was active between 1790–1909. The former mining site is currently occupied by a housing estate, which means that no new excavations can be conducted.
In addition to this new mineral discovery, exciting mining news is happening elsewhere. For example, Josemaria Resources Corp. Inc. (TSX: JOSE) (OTCQB: JOSMF) completed a feasibility study on its fully owned property in Argentina; the study found that the mine could break even in almost four years while the mine’s expected life was 19 years of copper, gold and silver extraction.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Josemaria Resources Inc. (TSX: JOSE) (OTC: JOSMF) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/JOSMF
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