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  Author   Comment  
dave t
A lot of beautiful minerals have come from this mine. As I understand, it is closed now. Just wondering if there are any other occurances of similar material from this area that have been found. After searching the web it appears that this mine is a fluke or a rarity for this geographical area.

Just wondering after recalling an old article in Rock & Gem about someone going to this area, advertising and attaining specimens from some of the miners that worked there. Yet there is nothing else out there that I can find where rockhounds have had any success in finding those type of materials in that area.

Can anyone out there share more info about this interesting rarity? Thanks, dave t.

Hey Dave...

What are you doing up this hour of the morning!?
Al O
Hello Dave,

there are actually three mines in the Elmwood District, the Elmwood, The Gordonsville, and the Cumberland. These mines acess the deep ore bodies that are typical Mississippi Valley replacement deposits.

The mines were closed a fer years ago. There has been recent talk that they may be reopened. This may already have happened, or maybe not. I haven't checked anything specifically.

A lot of specimens have been recovered from these mines as large pockets are not uncommon. The mining company has enlightened arrangements for specimen recovery and eventual distribution into the collector market. As such, there doesn't seem to be any way for collectors to just show up and collect. Specimens are made available through dealers. And yes, because of their high quality, thy are expensive at the retail end. About ten years ago I was able to acquire three large boxes of "seconds" from a wholesaler in Tucson. These specimens only needed minor cleaning and trimming. I got them for a roaring deal! If I could, I would get more of these, bbut those days are gone. Greatly inferior specimens are now going at wholesale prices much lower than the retail prices I charged back then. if the mines have reopened for any reason, even just maintenance and dewatering, some more specimens may become available at somewhat better prices.

Best regards,
Al O
Hi AL,
Thank you for sharing the information! I would like to visit the mine to get contact with some mine owner or local dealer in March. Could you provide any suggestions? Thanks!

Just wanted to say that I find this all fascinating.  I was just looking at minerals from the Elmwood mine because I'll be passing so close to it on a road trip this summer.  I totally understand that property owners don't want people wandering around their property for safety reasons and all, but at the same time, I really want to go out and explore all the old mines I will be near.  Sigh...

If there was any way at all to get legal permission, I would certainly try
Hey, I have had a few opportunities to go down into the mine. Now collecting specimen isn't allowed but if no one notices it is a fun experience. Get ahold of someone in the mine and ask for a tour for educational purposes or something.
Bob Harman
As AL O noted in a post on this thread from several years ago, there were 3 mines centered around Carthage Tennessee. They were zinc mines opened by the Doe Run Mining Co. after 1967. When the miners discovered the large voids with the tremendous fluorite crystals, calcite crystals, and barite crystals all associated with sphalerite, the zinc ore, the mining company entered into a collecting agreement with a group of specimen miners.  Simply put, the company recognized the importance of the crystals found in the voids.

In the early 2000s, zinc prices (along with other metals) dropped and the mines closed. About 2010 Nystar Mining Company reopened one area of one of the mines as zinc prices rebounded. Some ore was mined, but I never heard of any crystal specimens coming out at this time. Not sure if the mine stayed open or reclosed, but in 2016 the local newspaper again discussed the mine's reopening with mining related jobs coming back into the area. Again I have not heard of any mineral crystal  specimens coming out so the last specimens to come out (to my knowledge) came from about 20 years ago in the 1990s. 

I believe the mine has offered tours at times in the past, but not really sure of the current status. There might also be a mine shop with crystal specimens on site, but I doubt any of the tours offers any chance of collecting or the tour areas would be quickly "mined out".   Maybe others out there know of specifics, but anecdotal false news about these mines (and other mines) is very common out there.           BOB
Bob Harman
I re-reviewed the history of these mines and have some updated and corrected info.

The Doe Run Mining Company info was wrong. That company was associated with the Viburnum Trend mines in Missouri.
The Tennessee mines were first surveyed prior to opening by the New Jersey Zinc Company. Then there is a complicated series of ownerships thru the 1970s to the 1990s. Much of this time Union Zinc Company, parent company of Jersey Miniere Zinc Company (Colorado) and Union Miniere Company (Belgium) ran the mines.

In the early 2000s Strategic Resource Acquisition Corp bought the mining complex from the defunct company Pasminco of Australia.     Nyrstar Corp (note my corrected spelling) has owned the mines from about 2009 to present.  They have been closed and reopened and reclosed since. The latest that I could find was closure in December 2015 and plans, in October of 2016, for reopening in "late 2017" or about now.

As I previously noted no collector mineral specimens from these mines in 20+ years. Whether any crystallized stuff was just crushed or just not present in recent mining areas is unknown. The tours given are in "safe areas" to satisfy state and fed regulations about "people underground in mines". Any crystallized areas are only for looking with no disturbing or collecting in these tour areas.       BOB
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