Field Trip to OMYA Mine
May 17, 2006

Photos
By Don Ogden & Jay Valle

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Field Trip to OMYA Mine, Arizona, April 14 - 16, 2006

by Jay Valle



OMYA Mine Field Trip

We (Jay Valle, Don Eschbach, and Don Ogden) had a great trip going to the Omya Mine. It is a limestone mine south of Lucerne Valley in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains. The Mine produces ultra-pure white Calcium Carbonate plus numerous other minerals. These include Chrysocolla, Malachite, Azurite, Rhodocrhosite, Garnet, Pyrite, Sphalerite, Magnetite, and Epidote. There are also numerous brilliant fluorescent minerals.

We met with other CFMS clubs at the Orange Belt Mineralogical Societies shop Saturday morning. After over an hour drive from the shop, we ended up at the Omya mine office. There, we had an orietation by the company Geologist. We were instructed to wear hard hats, and protective glases (sun glasses were ok). The mine provided hard hats and safety glasses if we did not have them.

After the orientation, we lined up in a caravan and proceded to three collecting sites. At each site, we packed the viechicle with small and large Calcium Carborate rocks, and hopeful floursent minerals rocks.

DIRECTIONS TO MINE -

  • Interstate 15 north to Victorville, take the Bear Valley Rd. & Lucerne Valley Exit.
  • Take a right onto Bear Valley Road. Follow this road 15 miles where it will join up to Highway 18.
  • Stay on Highway 18 east through the town of Lucerne Valley - 10 miles, you will come to a fork where Highway 18 and 267 come together; there are a 76 and Chevron gas stations there.
  • Go right staying on Highway 18 toward Big Bear. In about 1/2 miles you will come to a blinking yellow light.
  • This is Crystal Creek Rd. Turn right and drive all the way up to the hill, 5 miles to the Visible OMYA plant. It takes about 40 minutes to get here from the Bear Valley Rd. Exit.

Go to OMYA MINE web site www.omya-na.com for more information about the mine.



You may not realize it but natural ground calcium carbonate impacts your daily life in more ways than you could ever imagine and it has made significant contributions to people and societies around the world throughout history.

Calcium carbonate ore is rock of either sedimentary or metamorphic origin. Limestone, the sedimentary ore, is a rock formed from accumulation of hard parts of organisms or from direct precipitation from seawater due to chemical changes caused by marine life. Marble, the metamorphic ore, is a rock resulting from changes produced in limestone from heat and pressure generally caused by large-scale geologic processes such as mountain formation.

The principal elements in calcium carbonate ore are calcium, carbon and oxygen. However, marble and limestone contain impurities, which affect whiteness, hardness and specific gravity. Rock that is ore grade is rare.

Calcium carbonate deposits in Vermont, California, Alabama and Washington in the USA, and Ontario and Quebec in Canada, are all known for their high-grade deposits of white marble. Omya's raw materials come from some of the highest grade, white marble deposits in North America.

There is no mineral as diverse in its uses as calcium carbonate. Countless present-day materials and products would be unthinkable without mineral fillers. This applies particularly to the paper, paperboard, paint, plastics, varnishes, fertilizer and other industrial industries, all of which consume vast quantities of minerals. Calcium carbonate also ranks high on the list of minerals used in medicines, foods and pharmaceuticals. Perhaps the largest market for calcium carbonate is in pollution control where it is used to reduce SOX emissions and to mediate the effects of acid rain in lakes and streams.

Calcium Carbonate Products