pyrite - Huanzalá Mine, Huallanca, Peru - Unit of 5 student specimens
Huanzalá Mine, Huallanca, Áncash Department, Peru
Pyrite, iron sulfate, or fool's gold, is the most common sulfide mineral. As it oxidizes, it changes from iron sulfate to iron oxide and takes in water, becoming limonite. This change releases sulfur, which forms sulfuric acid that dissolves other minerals in the original ore, allowing them to be washed downward by rainwater. The leached zone is easily mined. Pyrite is used as an iron ore where iron oxide ores are not available.
The San Jose de Huanzalá mine was discovered in 1721 and later abandoned. In the 1960s, it was operated by Cia. Minera Santa Luisa, which was purchased in 1964 by Mitsui Mining and Smelting Co of Japan and continues to operate the mine (photo) for lead and zinc. The Huanzalá may hold the record for the total tonnage of mineral specimens produced by a single mine. It is famous for its pyrite and fluorite specimens.
The photo is representative of what we ship. Because shipping iron ore from Peru is expensive and to keep the cost down, these are smaller than our normal student specimens, generally 1 1/2 to 2 inches, but decent at that size for the classroom.
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