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Sunday, 6 March 2016

SMITH’S MICA LODE TORRINGTON



In 1993 Minerama adopted beryl as its theme mineral for that year’s show. This led to the compilation of the “Beryl” booklet (downloadable here), mineral displays and several field trips to beryl localities. One place the organisers visited was Smith’s Mica Lode at Torrington, shown to us by John Griffey. This was the only time I visited the place, but I kept some of the specimens until we moved from Glen Innes in 2013. They contained more beryl crystals (all opaque, sadly) than I have seen from any other locality near Torrington.
Derived from MINDAT. The pink crystal locates Smith's Mica Lode. The granite country and the Torrington sedimentary pendant can easily be distinguished.

It wasn’t easy to get to then and presumably it isn’t today. Access was through private land from the site of Tungsten village and then on foot through the Torrington State Forest. The outcrop is of pegmatite in which beryl, biotite and feldspar dominate. As you can see from the various maps included in this blog, the site is within the Torrington State Forest. It is a couple of hundred metres from the granite boundary and the country rock is sedimentary strata into which the pegmatite dyke has intruded from the granite beneath.
From a 1981 publication on mining at Torrington. Smith's Mica Lode is located top centre. The blue line locates the edge of the granite.

The "Beryl” booklet incorporates quotations from several sources (all of which are no doubt downloadable from DIGS. The link to DIGS is here.) I won’t repeat any of this information here. The one reference I have included dates from 1972 but I can’t track down the source. I found it during a search of DIGS. 
The Grafton Maclean Metallogenic Map locates Smith’s Mica Lode by the number 0551. (Green circle, top centre.) The accompanying notes tell us that Be, Bi, W, U, Sn, Zn and Cu minerals have been found there. Mindat (to be found here) gives the following information:

“Smiths mica (Mica lode; Smiths mica mine; Junction reefs), Torrington, Clive Co., New South Wales, Australia. Mineral List: Beryl, 'Biotite', Cassiterite, 'Monazite', Muscovite
var: Sericite
, Pyrite, Quartz, Torbernite and 'Wolframite'.

Located approximately 7.5km North of Torrington. Coordinates: 370705mE, 6763668mN.
Operated as a shaft and shallow pits 1907 to 1921 and later 1954 to 1957. Grafton-MacLean 1:250 000 map sheet.

The other numbered localities nearby are:

0011 Wren’s NW Workings. Topaz, W, Bi.

0060 The Black Swamp Creek Alluvials. Mindat states: “Black Swamp Creek Alluvials, Torrington, Clive Co., New South Wales, Australia. Located approximately 6 km North of Torrington. Dredging operations from 1907 and sporadically through to late 1950s. Mineral List: Cassiterite, Corundum, 'Monazite', Quartz, Topaz.

This location appears to contain just what fossickers are looking for. Burnt Hut Creek is also part of this system. I would expect to find beryl in the gravel; take note that beryl does not concentrate in a sieve because of its relatively low specific gravity.

0546 Poor Prospect. Mindat states: “Poor Prospect, Torrington, Clive Co., New South Wales, Australia. Located approximately 7 km North of Torrington. Operated as shallow pits. Mineral List: Quartz, 'Wolframite'.

0547 The Wet Deposit. Mindat states: “Wet deposit, Torrington, Clive Co., New South Wales, Australia. Located approximately 7 km North of Torrington. Operated as shaft and shallow pits. Mineral List: Quartz, 'Wolframite'.”

0548 Junction Prospect. Mindat states: “Junction prospect, Torrington, Clive Co., New South Wales, Australia. Located approximately 7 km North of Torrington. Operated as shallow pits. Mineral List: 'Biotite', Muscovite var: Sericite, Quartz, 'Wolframite'.”

0549 Fletcher’s Deposit. Mindat states: “Fletchers deposit, Torrington, Clive Co., New South Wales, Australia. Located approximately 7.5 km North-West of Torrington.
Operated as underground workings, shafts and shallow pits 1913 to 1921. Mineral List:
'Limonite', 'Limonite', Muscovite var: Sericite, Quartz, 'Wolframite', Muscovite var: Sericite, Quartz, 'Wolframite'.

0550 Roberts Lode. Mindat states: “Roberts Lode. Located approximately 7.5 km North of Torrington. Operated as a shaft and numerous shallow pits 1910. Mineral List 'Wolframite'.”
0584 Lonely Deposit. Mindat states: “Lonely Deposit, Torrington, Clive Co., New South Wales, Australia. Located approximately 7 km North-West of Torrington. Operated as shallow pits. Mineral List: Quartz, 'Wolframite'.”
1326 Upper Black Swamp Lodes. Topaz, quartz.

From the Beryl book (1993). Specimen from Smith's Mica Lode.