Safari njema Zambia - in search of the rare zinc phosphates

Broken Hill - a name that makes many collectors' hearts beat faster, but there are - uniquely - two well-known deposits of this name, both of which KLOCKMANN already counts among the 100 most famous mineral sites on earth. The first is Broken Hill in New South Wales, Australia, the second is in Zambia near the town of Kabwe, north of the Zambian capital, Lusaka. The Pb-Zn-Ag deposit was discovered in the early 20th century by a British prospector who came from Broken Hill, Australia, and was named after his homeland. He initially encountered small mounds ("kopjes"), which consisted almost entirely of secondary zinc phosphates and which were mined first. became the most famous

the kopje #2, mainly because of the richness and beauty of the secondary zinc minerals found there. This site is the type locality for tarbuttite and parahopeite (the third mineral is zincolibethenit, for which

Broken Hill is the type locality). A total of 51 minerals are known from Broken Hill, including gems of smithsonite, pyromorphite, hopeite and galena.

In 1966, as a very young student, I had the opportunity to visit Broken Hill shortly after the independence of the former British colony of Northern Rhodesia ( I got the visa for the new state of Zambia from the British embassy ). The mine was then at its peak, both open pit and underground. Unfortunately, mining stopped completely in 1989 due to depletion of supplies, and the mine is now flooded. Unfortunately, a medium-sized catastrophe has become apparent in the last few decades, as heaps and demolition of the above-ground facilities have contaminated the groundwater to a large extent with shearing metals.

So it was quite a shock when I saw this mine again in its sad state. Diligent people worked on the company premises and dismantled everything that could be used, especially the copper cables, whose sheathing was simply burned off on large fires. The director of the site kindly allowed us to enter the fenced company premises as well as to visit the kopjes in the wider area. Fortunately, the location of kopje #2 was still known to me, so we concentrated on this area, because on the old mine site, apart from small heaps of franklinite and willemite (from the "star zinc mine" near Lusaka), were dumped there for smelting , hard to find anything.

The large heaps that I knew from before had almost completely disappeared, a small residual heap yielded a few more layers of tarbuttite and parahopeite, only when I realized that the terrain had been leveled did the idea of ​​digging up the steppe soil arise .

And here we found what we were looking for. My frequent companion and good friend Klaus Knappe and I found magnificent specimens, mostly of Tarbuttite, much more rarely of Parahopeite. Other minerals were hemimorphite in small snow-white crystals and, as a surprise, scholzite crystals on and with parahopeite. Rarely were small insignificant pyromorphite crystals in the yield.

Digging in the treeless steppe with no shade was hard physical labor. Of course we were rewarded with success, only at the end of the During the day we were completely exhausted, completely dirty and sweaty. The Zambian director of the former mine was generous, he let us use a guest apartment, even with a bathtub. However, the water was only enough for one filling, ie the first one got clean, the second one then had to try to get clean in the broth of the first one as well.

1 comment

  • Sauberkeit wird völlig überbewertet. Ein schöner Bericht! Danke sehr!

    Eva-Maria Schweitzer

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