A New England Region Special Issue
Cover Photograph: Molybdenite with Quartz, Kingsgate, Specimen: NSW Department of Mineral Resources, Size: 10cm high, Photo: D Barnes
Several tin-bearing minerals occur in the New England district, with cassiterite by far the most important commercially and mineralogically.
Four primary tungsten minerals occur in the New England district, wolframite, scheelite, hubnerite and tungstenite, with the first two constituting commercial ores.
Molybdenite, Bismuth and Associated Minerals
Molybdenite, with or without bismuth and associated minerals, is widespread in the New England district, being derived from the high silica granites and their quartose derivatives. It is found at many localities especially in the northern half of New England.
Stibnite (Sb2S3), the essential antimony ore, is found at many localities in the New England region though two areas, Hillgrove and Taylor's Arm, are most important.
Gold, Sulphides and other Primary Minerals
The New England region has produced gold, base metals with silver and several other metallic and non-metallic minerals including some quite rare species. Apart from quartz, few of these are as crystals, but other features such as only recorded Australian occurrence, microtextures or paragenetic association make them mineralogically significant.
Manganese Minerals from the Southern New England District
There are numerous occurrences of manganese minerals in the southern portion of the New England district, many of which were once mined on a small scale. Since 1960, the area has become a major world producer of the manganese silicate rhodonite, which is used as a semi-precious gem and ornamental stone.
Oxidised Minerals from the New England Region
By way of comparison with the renowned primary mineralization of the New England region, occurrences of secondary minerals are not particularly noteworthy. This is no doubt a reflection of the weathering history of the much younger New England region in relation, say, to the Broken Hill Block. However, there are some particular occurrences of oxidised minerals which, if not so remarkable as specimens, are of interest because of their rarity, or for their scientific importance.
Gemstones of New England
G Webb and L Sutherland
The New England area is unique in Australia for the quality, quantity and variety of its gem minerals. Diamond, sapphire, beryl, topaz, quartz, garnet, zircon, feldspar, rhodonite, nephrite, peridot and fluorite form an impressive array from one area.
Zeolites and Associated Minerals from the New England Region
There has been a long history of volcanism in eastern Australia since the Carboniferous Period, associated with former active plate margins as well as intraplate events which occurred during the break-up of the Gondwana supercontinent. As the Australian Plate evolved, basaltic eruptions became increasingly more widespread as rifting and sea-floor spreading developed along its margins. This left a legacy of highly suitable hot rocks for the development of zeolite mineralisation, including extensive areas of Tertiary basalts in the New England region.