Finding Local Minerals

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This page is about finding local minerals that can be used for making decorative painting and plastering materials.

Finding local lime stone

Finding local lime stone for making putties to use for plasters and paints can be simple with the help of mineral maps provided by the UGSG

Mine map symbol
What a Quarry looks like on a map
Geological map
Key showing the mineral symbol
List of mineral type
Example search result
  1. There are a few maps you can use to help you find what you are looking for. The first thing I do is look on as many different maps as I can find for the Quarry symbol. I try to keep my search as close to my home as possible to start.
  2. Once I find one then I have to find the USGS map for that area in the greatest detail possible which is typically 1:24,000 scale. Sure enough, after closer examination there is a very large quarry there. Next we need to find out what is in it.
  3. The map we will use to find out what is in the Quarry is called the USGS Geological map. This map shows all of the known minerals in relation to the geography. It is usually a brightly colored map with a key that is very detailed. It will show you to very important things; one is the minerals in the area and two is the time frame or "period" of the exposed earth. So in this one we see light blue that according to the key is the "PiPif" and is a deposit of Limestone and sandstone from the Permian and Pennsylvanian age.
  4. Now I need to find out who owns it, what are they mining, how, and how do I get in touch with them. When I looked at some of the more detailed maps they said "Rex" next to the area. I started the Google search for "Rex Colorado" , "Rex Quarry" or "Rex Colorado Quarry" and there it was.
  5. When I clicked on it I discovered the Colorado Lien Co. along with their contact information. I contacted them and asked them what the where mining in that area and it was Calcite. I asked them what they were doing with it and they said they were processing it for lab and food grade calcium as well as processing it in a kiln that they have about 4 miles away for Quick lime and Type S lime. I asked them if I could visit their operation and the said yes and WOW!!!! a full mining operation of Calcium in every form I could ever need to make plasters; very fine Calcium powder, quick lime, Type S, calcium sand and more. Now these guys are pouring it into big trucks and don't have a packaging plant so it would be hard for me to commercialize it. That being said I asked them what they would charge me to fill up my truck and they gave it to me for free on the first visit and that supply lasted me for the first year. Now I go once a year and fill up on what I need and pay very little for it.

Questions to ask yourself

What? Knowing Geology pays off?! Yes, in fact I can now make lime putty (Lab grade 99% Hydrated Calcium Carbonate) for about $2 per 5 gallons. There is some experimenting time that goes into this (That's another discussion) but the last project we had with a "Marmorino" style finish was 42 thousand square feet of wall and ceiling and my materials cost was $700 and 2 days of mixing.

What else is out there? What is near you? Garnet? Mica? Different colored sands? I can't wait to tell you more about my little rock collecting hobby.

Happy mineral hunting (Rockhounding)

André


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