Mining Gallery

Stichtite / Lavenderite

Stichtite / Lavenderite

Rare Stichtite, also known as Lavenderite. This comes from Barbeton from the Ancient 3.5 Billion year old Greenbelt (Verdite, Buddstone, Bloodstone all comes from this same greenbelt). It has a hardness of 3 and is essentially a Serpentine Mineral, so is very soft, but its has a stunning silky fibrous texture and an intense purple colour. It is usually mixed with green and yellow Serpentine. Most folks use this for either carving, freeform jewellery, (sometimes with a stone hardener) and large pieces for spheres or freeform display pieces. It only comes from this small area and forms in random veins through the Greenstone areas. The whole production is only around 400kg per month maximum capacity (to spread around a whole world, this doesn't goo very far). It tends to reach fairly high retail prices, but we keep the price as low as we can on this material and buy up the majority of this material when the small miners contact us to say they have been digging.

 

Mtorolite Chrome Chrysophrase

Mtorolite Chrome Chrysophrase

MTOROLITE. Beautiful Emerald green Chrome Chrysophrase. We have been busy with this rare and beautiful material for a dozen years or so now. Total production for many years was completely sporadic and could be anytime between 100-700kg per month. There are 3 small claims these days, but most of the material is not of good cutting grade or good colour (plenty of khaki and dull green). We stick to good green with interesting patterns, to Emerald green and always translucent material. We normally get around 500kg every 3-6 weeks from the two better deposits. The majority of this is sold by clients in the Far East as "Royal Jade". For years nobody even knew what "Mtorolite " was, but there are plenty of Easterners running around with very expensive Royal Jade trinkets, jewellery or have lovely carvings made from it. Generally, it comes in fairly thin naturally etched, crystalline plates of 3-40mm thicknesses, but we also get some good material in the 30-120mm thicknesses sometimes, which are almost certainly a mixture of good and A grade in each piece, but not any solid huge translucent Emerald Green ...this is mostly in the thin plates of 3-20mm. It has a hardness of 7, polishes beautifully and is one of favourites. We try to concentrate on getting rare and unusual materials that usually mined as small Artisan Mining projects. Mtorolite has become better known in recent years. We normally Grade A, Good and specimen plates into 3 categories. E-mail me (Nick) if you need to know more or would like to know when we have another shipment in.(info@toprocks.net) . It is often sold and booked before it gets in, but we do stock it when we have excess material coming down.



Semi-Precious Loads

Semi-Precious Loads

Some semi-precious loads of rough mined, loaded, sent off to customers and various yards from Midrand, Messina, Nelspruit, Madagascar. We have mined and moved a couple of tons over the years. If you are looking for bulk tonnage you can e-mail Nick on info@toprocks.net. There are hundreds of deposits of stones in Central and Southern Africa. Not all of them will be available all of the time, as many of them are very remote or on farms that mine sporadically, some mines are almost finished or depleted, but there are always new, old and interesting materials popping up.



Namibian Desert Picture Stone

Namibian Desert Picture Stone

My personal favourite stone type of all time, classic, subtle, but with such exquisite natural artistic detail. Namibian Desert Picture Stone has been formed in an area that was originally in inland lake/seabed, dried up, cracked up, silted up again and compressed, flooded, cracked up, silted some more...forming delicious intricate patterns. This is from up around the Ais Aise district...hotter than hell and beautifully desolate...almost identical lanscape to the Picture stone itself..precise copies in miniture. It is in a very remote location and mining often takes place at night...3am to 10am in spotlights until it is too hot...water gets brought in from many miles away. Put old tyres on vehicles as they will get soft from the heat and you will get punctures. The mine is now only open sporadically. We have a very similar stone on our property at Mpushini..not in tonnage, but the same patterns.Ours is from Ice age glaciation of the area forming a lake in the saucer here and drying and cracking the sedimentation. Sometimes we are able to get tonnage of this material from Namibia..

 

Rough Materials; Dragonstone

Rough Materials; Dragonstone

Dragonstone is a unique stone from Limpopo Province and is a mixture of green Epidote and red Piedmontite (also an Epidote Mineral). We first found it on the Messina Mines 23 years ago in very small quantities...literally a piece here and there ..my friend Raubenheimer used to manufacture a few gemstone eggs from them. Then there was a small deposit found at Proeflpaas near Messina, but the quality wasnt too good on average. The newer deposit near Tshipise however is fine material indeed and we have had some good tonnage from this reef (discovered while Copper prospecting) and have made some beautiful items from it and sold some rough.. We have dealt in and mined rough materials from all over the Southern African regions for 23 years. If we havent had a bash at digging it ourselves, dont know who owns the Minerals rights, the farm where its mined, the owner of we dont have an agrement set up for it, then we would be surprised ourselves.

Madagascar Copper

Madagascar Copper

Some pictures of Mining in Madagascar. This is how it is done in not so modern countries....spade, pick, cow and cart, Most of these folks had never seen a whitey before I ruined their view!! I do like most Malagasy folks though. Although not rich in money terms, they have a nice lifestyle....beautiful rustic double story houses, cattle, rice feilds, fruit trees. No electric in most villages and not too much sign of modern day living until you get into the towns and cities.

Mines

Mines

Various Photos of mines in Southern Africa. Many more to come. 1)- The Old Head gear from 5th Shaft at the famous Messina Copper Mine in Limpopo..long famed for its delicious Ajoite & Papagoite Quartz crystals. 2)-Black Mountain. 1970's shot taken by Mr Mills, ex mine manager. There were some beautiful Smokey Quartz specimens from this mine. 3)Roodekranz Copper cave system. This was some of the earliest mining in the world..Wits University of South Africa has dated these as up to 40 000 years old!!! I crawled through many of them as a teenager, taking my old motorbike up to the hills of Hennops River area and bunking school..quite often a much better education!! 4)- Rose Quartz Mine in Nothern Cape. The owner, Santa ( a very nice Afrikaans lady, not a chap with a long white beard!) has mined in the remote region of Kakamas for many years and there have been thousands of tons that have come out from this mine. 5)-Unakite piles at Proefplaas near Messina (now Musina)...dug out around this 8000 Hectare farm next to the mightly Limpopo River. 6)- Black Tourmaline(Industrial, not specimen grade) bagged at Ambatondrazaka Madagascar 7)-Rock Piles at Proefplaas. 8)- Chrysacolla Mine near Tulear Madagascar. 9)- Artonvilla Mine, Limpopo. All of the more recent Ajoite and Papagoite crystals came from this old mine that was partly reworked for specimens. We took airial shots from the Helicopter while surveying the area. 10) Copper Strike found on foot 20 years ago (with my old friend Jimmy Townsend who was 76 years old then, and myself) and refound a couple of years ago with the help of a litle modern equipment.