Chalcopyrite, Galena, Pyrite & Sphalerite

In this sample the easiest mineral to identify is the grey-black coloured galena! Galena is a sulphide mineral and is the primary ore mineral for lead. It is often found in veins together in conjunction with the other minerals in this specimen, in limestone altered to skarn, and some sedimentary rocks. Galena has been mined for its lead content from as early as 3000 BC.

Also seen in this sample are sphalerite, chalcopyrite and pyrite. Sphalerite, a zinc sulphide ore mineral, varies in colour but is commonly brown. Chalcopyrite is a bright yellow copper sulphide mineral often mistaken for gold, and it is the most common ore mineral for copper. Pyrite is a brassy dull yellow colour, and it is a very common iron sulphide mineral that is found in many different settings. Although it is nicknamed “fool’s gold”, a well-trained eye can pick out the differences when the mineral is large enough.

This specimen comes from the Ruth Vermont Mine in the vicinity of Golden, B.C. It was a past producer of silver, lead, zinc, copper, gold, and tungsten. It contains both polymetallic veins and SEDEX style mineral deposition. The mine was surveyed previously and opened for production in 1970. Silver is often associated with galena, and so it is likely present within this sample!

Specimen Information

Store: Association for Mineral Exploration (AME)


Accession #: AME-87

Primary Mineral: Galena & Sphalerite

Secondary Mineral: Chalcopyrite & Pyrite

Site Locality: Ruth Vermont

Location: Golden, B.C.

Special Features: n/a


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