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Mineralogy

Crocoite was the first mineral in which the element chromium was discovered. It forms beautiful, fiery-coloured crystals, columnar to needle-shaped. They occur in chromite deposits, quartz veins and in the oxidation zone of lead lodes. 
Name:
Chemical Formula:
Mineral System:
Hardness:
Specific Gravity:
Colour:
 Lustre:
Streak:
Lead Chromate
PbCrO
4
Monoclinic
2.5-3
5.9-6
Orange-Yellow
Greasy to Adamantine
Orange

Deposits are now only found in the Dundas area, neer Zeehan, on the West Coast of Tasmania. The only other deposit of significance occured at Berezovskiy, near Sverdlovsk in the Urals. Other, less abundant sources were Baita (Romania), at Labo (Luzon Island, Philippines), near Congonhas (Brazil), Vulture (Arizona, USA), and in the Penchalong mine of Rhodesia, in Africa.

Crocoite was first reported, in Tasmania, from the Heazlewood Mine to the North of Zeehan, the exact year being in question, either 1885 or 1895.

Crocoite specimens are historically either from the Red Lead Mine or the Adelaide Mine at Dundas. To the trained eye it is virtually always possible to distinguish which mine each specimen has come from. These two mines occupy opposite sides of the same hill and are the source of the best crocoite specimens ever produced.

Specimens are also now available from the Dundas Extended Mine which is virtually just over the hill from the Adelaide Mine. The Dundas Extended Mine is worked from underground by Mike and Eleanor Phelan, good friends of ours. Specimens from this mine quite often have crystals with perfect terminations and are regularly of a very beautiful bright orange colour.

The Adelaide Mine is worked from underground. A new syndicate has taken over this mine from Frank Mihajlowits in recent years. One of the cavities discovered at the Adelaide mine (by Frank Mihajlowits) in the early 1970's was 6 feet high, 8 feet long and 4.5 feet wide. The walls, floor and roof were completely covered with crocoite crystals measuring up to three inches long. 

The Red Lead Mine has until recently been worked through an open cut section. Preparations are underway to recommence mining underground.

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