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Amy Bennett
 #1 
Hello:
A total newbie here! I'm trying to find out if there are any mining operations in NC that mine quartz (particularly blue quartz). My son has a school project and is to provide a map showing the NC mining operations for quartz, but I haven't been able to find any mines that are still operating. I thought it would be neat to have the family actually visit the mine to see how it operated, and get some more info on blue quartz and maybe some samples. Any info or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! By the way, does anyone know why so many mines have recently shut down?
Thanks!
Amy
mike k
 #2 
Don't know about blue quartz, but there a few commercial quartz mines around Spruce Pine, NC. I believe I read one of them supplies the quartz sand used in the bunkers at Augusta National Golf Club.
Mike Streeter
 #3 
Hi Amy,

By blue quartz, I'm going to assume you also mean purple quartz also known as quartz variety amethyst. The only North Carolina "commercial" amethyst location that I can think of, but that has been closed for years, is the Reel Mine in Lincoln County. Some of the finest North American amethyst was recovered from this location over many years. It was actually a fee-based operations where rockhounds could dig until an altercation prompted the owners to shut it down.

The only still-operating fee-based quartz mines that I know of in the Carolinas is Diamond Hill in South Carolina. Anyone can book time at Diamond Hill as an individual or a group - during the week and on weekends. All you need to do is follow the procedures outlined by the owner, Chet Karwoski. These can be found on the GMS website at: Diamond Hill Chet is generally very responsive to emails,

Mike K. is right that one of the commercial mining operations in Spruce Pine, NC produces fine quartz. However, the quartz is derived from a rock called alaskite (essentially a fine-grained version of granite pegmatite), not crystals. This quartz is the purest in the world and used to produce computer chips, fine optical glass used in telescopes, and light bulbs installed in automobiles, streetlights, and film projectors. You would not be allowed to observe this proprietary operation.

Good luck!

Mike
Joe D.
 #4 
Amy,

From MINDAT.org

North Carolina
Catawba Co.
Gems and Minerals of America-Jay Ellis Ransom-1974
Bowman Mine
U.S Bureau of Mines/Spatial Data from the Minerals System/Mineral Industry Location System(Mas/Mils)CD-Rom,Sep,1995
County Home Prospect
Wilson,W.F and McKenzie,B.J,1978,Mineral Collecting Sites in North Carolina,Information Circular 24
Drum Mine
U.S Bureau of Mines/Spatial Data from the Minerals System/Mineral Industry Location System(Mas/Mils)CD-Rom,Sep,1995
Hefner Mine
U.S Bureau of Mines/Spatial Data from the Minerals System/Mineral Industry Location System(Mas/Mils)CD-Rom,Sep,1995
Smithwick Prospect
U.S Bureau of Mines/Spatial Data from the Minerals System/Mineral Industry Location System(Mas/Mils)CD-Rom,Sep,1995
Gaston Co.
Gems and Minerals of America-Jay Ellis Ransom-1974
Big Bess Mine (M. S. Bess Mine; M. M. Carpenter Mine)
Wilson,W.F and McKenzie, B.J , 1978, Mineral Collecting Sites In North Carolina, Information Circular 24
Lincoln Co.
Gems and Minerals of America -Jay Ellis Ransom=1974
Hulls Crossroads
Buffalo Creek
Zeitner,J.C,1968,Appalachian Mineral and Gem Trails
Polk Co.
Gems and Minerals of America- Jay Ellis Ransom-1974
North Star Mine
U.S Bureau of Mines/Spatial Data from the Minerals System/Mineral Industry Location System(Mas/Mils)CD-Rom,Sep,1995
Rutherford Co.
Gems and Minerals of America-Jay Ellis Ransom-1974
Rutherfordton
Hollands Creek
Wilson,W.F and McKenzie,B.J,1978,Mineral Collecting Sites In North Carolina,Information Circular 24
Surry Co.
Ref: Gems and Minerals Of America- Jay Ellis Ransom-1974
Pilot Mountain State Park
Genth,F.A and Kerr,W.C,1881,Minerals and Mineral Localities of North Carolina,Geologic Survey
Vance Co.
Tungsten Queen Mine and Plant (Hamme Mine)
Mineral Collecting Sites in North Carolina-W.F.Wilson and B.J.Mckenzie-1980
Wake Co.
Gems and Minerals of America-Jay Ellis Ransom-1974
Wakefield Prospect
U.S Bureau of Mines/Spatial Data from the Minerals System/Mineral Industry Location System(Mas/Mils)CD-Rom,Sep,1995

You would have a hard time finding any of these places to colelct tody though.

Joe D.
Amy Bennett
 #5 
Thank you all so much for your information. It has all been extremely helpful! I may try to contact Diamond Hill mines tomorrow.

It has been really interesting learning about this; I have learned quite a bit about the quartz in the Spruce Pine area (within the pegmatites) and it's use in the Palomar telescope as well as some of the history of mining in that area. If we can't get to Diamond Hill Mine, we may try to get to Spruce Pine to see the gem museum and learn more about the history.

I think it would be fascinating to learn about the entire mining process, from the actual mining to the selling of the individual minerals for profit and what happens in between. If anyone knows where I could find info about that, I think it would be really interesting. This stuff is really cool!

Thanks again to everyone who took time to help.
Amy
Don Robinson
 #6 
Amy

I have been researching for Blue Qaurtz myself and have found that it is located according to Mindat.org (Joe beat me to telling you)in the local areas of Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia. As I see it it "should" be in NC. There is the massive form of BQ and the crystal form. The crystal form as I have read is in those states. If you do some research on Blue Quartz and what minerals make the color form you should be able to somewhat pin point where it "may be found".

Good Luck
Don
miningman
 #7 

There are several mines operating in Spruce Pine Area. There is some industrial sand being produced but the majority of "quartz" sand is used in the computer industry.
In answer to the guy who asked why so many mines are shutting down. In the United States many smaller operations cannot keep the Federal Government off their backs. The OSHA of mining is called MSHA. They have far too much power and they have turned into a money making machine for the Federal Government. They enact rules and give large fines for stupid things.  Here is my perfect example. There is not a school operating in this Country that if MSHA came in the entire school would be vacated and a padlock put on the doors. To reach MSHA standards every school would have to spend thousands of dollars and miss several weeks of learning time. This is no lie or stretch of the truth. When I say every school I mean every single one. I am that sure their rules are that assinine.

Mark
 #8 
The Reel mine is opened back up again but the only way to get in is to be a member of a club so you have insurance and go on a club sponsored dig.
krystal lynn hund
 #9 
Blue quartz is a real thing. I have collected it in Precambrian 'granites' in the Ocoee River valley in southern TN. It appears as small (1/4") blobs in a matrix of feldspar and something else I cant recall. Very pretty when polished.

Sorry, but I cant help the OP (tho it looks like everyone else did!).
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