Minerologist/gemologist needed

So, do we have out there in Worstallreadershipland someone who actually knows what they\’re doing with minerals and gems and crystals? And if so, do we have one of those who would like to take on an interesting little (and paid!) commission?

The background is this.

There\’s a mineral/crystal called fluorite. CaF2. Lots of it mined around the world.

At one particular (now mined out) mine it was associated with another mineral, thortveitite. (Sc,Y) something something.

The thortveitite turned up in reasonable (thousands of ppm) in the tailings. There are also stories about the two coexisting in the same piece of crystal.

The bit that I don\’t know is whether having thortveitite where you\’ve got fluorite (or fluorspar) is normal or whether this old mine was exceptional. But what I have got is agreement from a fluorspar mine to give me some samples of both the fluorspar and the tailings to find out.

So, what I want to find is someone who can actually test these two (actually, there would probably be more than two samples to give us a flavour of different tailings streams) and tell me. Preferably someone in the UK.

For, if I can find thortveitite in the tailings then I know how to concentrate it and once I\’ve concentrated it I know how to get the Sc out. Which is the ultimate aim, of course.

So, anyone? anyone know anyone? Or even where I might start looking for someone with the required skill and equipment set?

5 thoughts on “Minerologist/gemologist needed”

  1. See above.Dunno why you don’t set up in a Science Park near some big university.Plugged into public sector academia might be alot easier.

  2. I’m also thinking a university might be a possiblity, just be aware that the experience can be very variable. However much they go on about commercial services you can experience classic stifling bureaucracy. If it’s just chemical analysis (i’m thinking flame spectrophotometry) then I’ve heard Surrey can be quite good. Imperial maybe if you need whizz bang stuff.

  3. Atomic absorption spectroscopy should give a quick answer to “is there any scandium here and if so how much”. Alfa sell an AAS standard solution (1mg/ml) at about UKP25 for 100ml. If it matters whether the Sc is actually present as thortveitite then powder xrd might help; the structure is known.

  4. Sounds like a good project for a final year or MSc earth science students. Most unis are crying out for real projects to do. My son suggests the Earth Sci Dept at UofH (Ex-Hatfield Poly)

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