Mining Operations at Mount Mica & Orchard Pit Mines, Oxford County, Maine.

Coromoto Minerals Mining Operations at Mount Mica, July and August, 2005

First Material from MMP11-05
Pink tourmaline and quartz crystals

During the month of June and into the first part of July we removed a seemingly endless quantity of lepidolite from our drift. Each blast covered the floor in purple chunks and white to pink hued spodumene fragments all of which we picked up and stored. We designed our blasts to loosen as large of pieces of the high quality lepidolite at possible.  Once we concluded that we had enough lepidolite, we turned our mining down dip and away from this mass. This turn left the up dip side of our drift purple as we worked ahead. Just to the down dip side of this lithia mineral concentration, we encountered a very large area of feldspar whose cracks had been infilled with löllingite. Always a worrier, I feared Elbaite in matrixthe löllingite was perhaps a harbinger of some untoward shift in the mineralization. This area was also dominated by very large rusty crack that led nearly on axis with the direction of our drift. The crack had been evident for many meters but now seemed to become larger. It was increasingly filled with a rusty and muddy detritus.  

On the bright side, as we mined ahead, small vugs began to appear within the lepidolite as it became less massive and more vein like. Sizable locked in elbaites began showing up. This was somewhat reminiscent of the lithia mineral concentration we had encountered out in the main pit late in 2004. (See Mt. Mica, October 2004) Eventually a small pocket developed on the back of the lepidolite. This pocket was designated 10-05. It contents consisted of completely altered tourmaline and a mass of jumbled cookeite. A very large tourmaline had at one time extended into the pocket and it's red elbaite stump was still evident in the pocket wall. Pocket 10 actually was the beginning on a series of interconnected chambers that led both upstrike and down dip. Each of these chambers contained a few small quartz crystals and etched tourmaline fragments.  All of us spent considerable time and effort trying to punch into a worthwhile space  using chisels and our pneumatic chipping hammer. Spaces were many , results few. We were also encouraged to have exposed a huge pendant schorl on the right side of our drift. These were always a reliable pocket sign. Pocket 10 appeared to be radiating in that direction.  With interest we noticed that each morning a sizable puddle had accumulated at the end of our drift.

We were becoming fairly proficient at 2 meter advances, so we decided to make our next advance nearly 3 meters. With the successful completion the 3 meter burn , it was time to begin working the mineralized zone. We kept reassuring ourselves that big mineralization such as the lithia body we discovered portended big pockets.  During the Maine Pegmatite Workshop visit in to Mt Mica in June, Al Falster suggested that we would probably find what we were looking for just beyond and down dip of this body. We were in silent agreement with him.  The first bench only exposed more of the vugs associated with 10-5. On July 7 we began drilling our another bench  into the pegmatite.
While drilling the 3rd of 4 holes the drill dropped in a small cavity. Immediately water began pouring from this hole. Using the blowpipe, we attempted to assess the size of the cavity by forcing out the water with compressed air. The water continued regardless of the amount of air we pumped in. A small cavity would have been immediately blown dry. We had been around this block before. As we approached pocket 28-04 we also  released a flow of water.  The next morning , as we did with pocket 28-04, we measured the amount of accumulated water. The rate was determined to be 500 gallons/day. This flow was to continue undiminished for 2 weeks. Based on the water flow, we were on the trail of a cavity at least 100 m3 using the flow from 28-04, a 40m3 pocket, as a baseline. However, we spent the next two weeks trying to locate it without success. What we did find was an increasingly large series of chambers which seemed to be only
Drift at the begining of July
In the picture above Richard is probing the new 'gusher' with our loading pole. To the right a large pendant schorl is visible; to the left, the lepidolite wall. Muck piles obscure much of the face on either side.
  a continuation of 10-5. Each of these, as before, contained a few quartz crystals and some rather pale green tourmaline. We were of the opinion we would be getting close to our objective once we starting finding quartz crystals with glassy overgrowth.  Doubts were beginning to creep in though that our water was not from a pocket but possibly from some form of aquifer. Unfortunately, an aquifer wouldSketch of drift have negative implications for our mining on several levels.  As we  widened our burn to towards the area of the pendant schorl shown in the image above, we did encounter a sizable cavity. Its contents were similar to the material of pocket 10 but it was large enough to insert our standard unit of measure, a hoe handle. Unfortunately, at this point, I was recalled to Florida for 2 weeks. In the interim Richard and Jim would make another advance. We were convinced we were getting close to our 'objective', a pocket on the scale of our mineralization. We hoped the next advance would get us to where we wanted to be. 

In my absence, Jim and Richard completed the new 3m burn. The pegmatite drilled so softly they both fully expected to drill into a pocket at any moment. When I returned, we picked up again exploring the cavity at the far right for our drift. Much of it was still in the floor. As we exposed it further, it became clear, that as it worked it way into the headwall of the drift, it was becoming larger. We decided at that point it would be worth the effort to try to expose the pocket further by drilling a few holes into its roof. As the pocket was essentially at our feet, working the way it was was strictly an on your belly operation. To this point, it was still producing only opaque tourmalines a
Drift showing emergimg cavitynd uninteresting quartz crystals. The (3) 1m holes, which we drilled in the roof in an arch like pattern, pulled well and produced an amazing amount of of muck. It was mostly shattered quartz, which required several hours of hand mucking with shovels and hoes to clear from the expanded yet still narrow space we had created. Once we mucked it out, we could see that there was  another chamber behind the one we had enlarged. With a little handwork we were able to get a better look into this space. On the very top of the pocket lay pieces of bright pink tourmaline with dark blue and dark green caps. These were unlike any of the other material we had seen from these cavities. All the pieces were quite gemmy and exhibited a definite fiber optic light piping quality. Illuminated from the ends, light emerged from the opposite end with a bright pink intensity no matter how long the piece. In this cavity we also found our first quartz crystals with overgrowth We were also now finding small gemmy green tourmalines too.. ( see the picture at the top of the page) In the image to the right,  the pocket can be seen  near the center. A light in the pocket illuminates another chamber.

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 June 2000 Beryl Group