Virtual museum of Canada
Collections from Storage: A Visit to our Hidden Treasures

Sphalerite

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This rock contains two minerals which are economically valuable: sphalerite is the brown, and galena, the metallic grey. These two minerals contain respectively zinc and lead, two elements that are used in a wide variety of products.

This sample reflects an important page in mining history in Canada. This rock comes from the Pine Point Mine, which was located on the shores of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. From 1963 to 1987, zinc and lead were mined there. The mine was so active that a settlement of around 2000 people existed there at the height of production. Today, there is hardly a trace of the mine. Very high operating costs forced it to close in 1988.

A rock that contains two minerals : sphalerite, brown in colour, and galena, which is metallic grey.

Credits : Musée de la nature et des sciences, Sherbrooke

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