|Mining Operations at Mount Mica & Orchard Pit Mines, Oxford County, Maine.|
resumed working at
Our initial effort at
The pocket we started opening in January was designated MMP1-05. Although we did open bushel basket sized cavity, the small amount of gem elbaite we found with this pocket was contained within a small satellite vug about .3 meters below the main cavity.
(In the image to the left Cal Graeber sits on a cold January day beside the hole we drilled into pocket MMP1-05. The water leaking from the pocket formed an icicle. This is also the point where we started our drift Leonard Himes Photo)
As we continued advance our drift, our strategy was to drill a 1m square burn pattern a safe distance abovet the mineralized zone. Once the burn was cut, we would then enlarge this opening to the final width of the drift but still keeping the bottom of the opening well above the pocket zone. We learned quickly that if we found the ‘roots’ of large accumulations of schorls showing in the floor of our cut, we could predict with a degree of certainty that a pocket was underneath. This was especially true if there was a halo of quartz and cleavelandite around the schorls. As we worked the mineralized zone with sinker holes, we would place these in such a way as to carefully expose the potential hot spots. This we did by drilling and blasting well to the side of these enrichments with the hope of just cracking or peeling into them. Using this newly established technique, we found pocket MMP2-05 on March 22 just 1 week after starting to de-water the pit.
MMP2-05, although small, was a true gem elbaite pocket. Several fine blue gem crystals very similar to the material from MMP23-04 were recovered. These were embedded in golden cookeite sands. We teased these crystals out of the cookeite using fine picks. We even tried our high pressure water gun to assist us in this delicate task. Near pocket two, there was a similar area of enrichment. As we were to discover later, we apparently sent gem blue elbaite out to the dump.
By the beginning of April
Jim Clanin had joined Richard and
Jim was not at
First material from MMP3-05
As noted before we were taking the pegmatite right to the schist ceiling. If we drilled the upper holes about .3 meters below the schist, the pegmatite peeled away cleanly without disrupting the integrity of the schist ceiling. The master plan was to mine up strike and slowly turn our drift down dip so that eventually we would be further down dip than the back of pocket 28-04. Then we could reverse direction and mine towards the back of 28-04. As we advanced our drift up strike beyond MMP3-05, we no longer could peel away the schist from the ceiling. In order to locate the schist, we drilled directly into the roof at about a 45 degree angle. The schist was there but it was now 1-2m higher than before. Another anomaly presented itself as we advanced the drift. We had expected the garnet line and the entire pegmatite sheet to rise as we mined further eastward and up strike. The opposite was happening. Both the ceiling was rising and the garnet line was sinking adding to the dimensions of the pegmatite and the amount of rock we would have to move.
Coincident with the
thickening of the pegmatite massive
lepidolite appeared near the center of our drift. We had seen quite a
bit as thin wisps and plebs as we had been driving our drift. Our drift
was now in 10 meters long.
Besides the lepidolite, we encountered numerous small spodumene
meters. Just to the left (down dip) of the lepidolite we intercepted
Pocket 4 was similar in both size and material to pocket 3. Both
interesting quartz crystals and specimen tourmaline but little
Small blue capped elbaite from MMP4-05
Go to May-June Mining