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March-April 2016

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Connoisseur's Choice: Shigaite, Kalahari Manganese Field, Northern Cape Province, South Africa

Shigaite is a relatively rare mineral that is currently known from only a handful of localities worldwide (http://www.mindat.org/min-3638.html; accessed November 2015). Originally described and named from the type locality, the Ioi mine in Shiga Prefecture, Japan (Peacor et al. 1985), it was subsequently found in the Bengal (Canon), Homer, and Hiawatha No. 2 mines, Iron County, Michigan (DeMark 2000; Robinson and La Berge 2013), the Iron Monarch deposit, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, Australia (Pring, Slade, and Birch 1992), the Wessels and N'Chwaning I mines in the Kalahari manganese field, Northern Cape Province, South Africa (Cairncross and Balayer 2007; Cairncross, Beukes, and Gutzmer 1997; Cairncross and Beukes 2013), and the Poudrette quarry, Mont Saint-Hilaire, Canada (reported on www.mindat.org; accessed November 2015). The specimen featured as figure 1 is from the Kalahari manganese field, which has been the most prolific producer of shigaite specimens and also the source of the highest quality crystals.

Dr. Bruce Cairncross, a consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals, is a Professor of Geology at the University of Johannesburg.

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