By Gisela Hinder, Rosh Pinah Geo Centre

The Skorpion non-sulphide zinc mine in southwestern Namibia has always produced interesting and rare minerals. To name only a few amongst the great variety of zinc carbonates, phosphates and silicates discovered at Skorpion, the skorpionite, hemimorphite, smithsonite and tarbuttite crystals are probably the best known. Nevertheless, Skorpion mine has an area where copper values in the host rock are higher, and minerals like malachite, chrysocolla, zincolibethenite, wulfenite, atacamite and herbertsmithite, and on one occasion also cerussite, have occurred.

More recently some yellowish fluorapatite specimens were discovered. The shape of the crystals probably indicates that they are fluorapatite pseudomorphs after scholzite.

All photos and specimen are the author’s unless otherwise indicated. The identifications of the minerals are either from analyses or to the best knowledge of the author.

Acicular fluorapatite after scholzite? 8,5 x 5,5 x 5 cm

Smithsonite is one of the main Zn-bearing minerals at Skorpion Mine and occurs in all sorts of habits but mainly as botrioidal or mammillary masses, in droplet form and in places as envelope shaped crystal aggregates. Colours can vary from white, grey to greenish or bluish.

Bluish-grey botrioidal smithsonite with clear hemimorphite and white scholzite? Crystals found in 2013, 13 x 11 x 7 cm

At the beginning of 2016 yellowish radiating scholzite crystal aggregates were discovered. They are usually covered by a thin drusy quartz layer and more or less pseudomorph-replaced by the latter.

Yellowish scholzite crystal aggregates covered by a thin drusy quartz layer, 12,5 x 8 x 4,5 cm

An area rich in copper at Skorpion Mine produces a variety of spectacular copper minerals.

Acicular malachite stars on a hetearolite crust, 10 x 8 x 5 cm, Photo by Dr Heinz Mahlzahn

Mammilary romanechite aggregates on white hydrozincite on chrysocolla, 4,5 x 2 x 2 cm, photo by Dr Heinz Mahlzahn

Tiny octahedral wulfenite crystals with malachite, Photo by Francois Retief

Zincolibethenite and hydrozincite balls on drusy quartz, 12 x 10,5 x 11 cm Photo by D. Heinz Mahlzahn

Fibrous balls of churchite-Y crystals on romanechite, 8 x 4 x 4 cm Photo by Dr Heinz Mahlzahn

Very rare occurrence of a cerussite crystal from Skorpion Mine, 3 x 2,5 x 2 cm