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September-October 2017

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Connoisseur's Choice: Tsumcorite, Tsumeb Mine, Namibia

It is fitting that Tsumeb should have not just one species named in its honor, but two: tsumebite and tsumcorite. The latter species is the subject of this Connoisseur's Choice, while tsumebite is featured in this issue's The Where of Mineral Names column. Tsumcorite is named after the Tsumeb Corporation, and the establishment of this company is briefly reviewed here.

The discovery and subsequent development of the Tsumeb ore deposit has been extensively covered in the literature and on the Internet. For example, (accessed December 2016) provides a succinct overview of the pre-European history of the deposit, the European discovery (although it had been exploited for many years by local Bergdama and Bushmen long before the Europeans arrived), and the later twentieth-century development, growth, and ultimate closure of the mine in 1996.


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

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