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We have been extremely fortunate here at Mine Rat Minerals/Open Adit West, LLC. to have dealt directly with the Okorusu Fluorspar Mine under contract for the specimens since 2002 and ending with the closure of the active mining at the open pit in 2014.

 

Okorusu Fluorspar PTY, LTD is located 46 km North of Otjiwarongo in the Otjozondjupa region of Namibia.

Satellite view of the Okorusu mine complex showing the different pits of ore extraction

Satellite view of the Okorusu mine complex showing the different pits of ore extraction.

Mark Kielbaso and Claus Hedegaard at the turnoff for the Okorusu Mine

Mark Kielbaso and Claus Hedegaard at the turnoff for the Okorusu Mine.

Okorusu Fluorspar Mine and Biltong, which is the Namibian equivalent of beef jerky

Okorusu Fluorspar Mine and Biltong, which is the Namibian equivalent of beef jerky.

Entrance way to the Okorusu mine in Nambia

Entrance way to the Okorusu mine in Nambia.

Entryway to the Okorusu mine

Entryway to the Okorusu mine.

Conference at the guard shack as to where we should go

Conference at the guard shack as to where we should go.

The Specimen Shed where all of the crystals are kept for sales to the interested parties

The “Specimen Shed” where all of the crystals are kept for sales to the interested parties.

Mark Kielbaso and Mike New of Top Gem Minerals with Chris Johnston discussing prices

Mark Kielbaso and Mike New of Top Gem Minerals with Chris Johnston discussing prices.

Chris Johnston discussing prices with Mark Kielbaso and Mike New of Top Gem Minerals

Chris Johnston discussing prices with Mark Kielbaso and Mike New of Top Gem Minerals.

The A Pit in the distance from the Specimen Shed

“A” Pit in the distance from the “Specimen Shed”.

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Offices at the Okorusu mine complex.

Offices at the Okorusu mine complex.

Aerial view of the Okorusu mine complex

Aerial view of the Okorusu mine complex.

The Okorusu mine was most probably found by the early German geologists who scoured the country side, of what was once called South West Africa, on camels and horseback around the end of the nineteenth and the early parts of the twentieth centuries.

Chris Johnston and Roy Verburgt inspecting A Pit pockets of fluorite

Chris Johnston and Roy Verburgt inspecting “A” Pit pockets of fluorite.

Green fluorite pocket in the A Pit

Green fluorite pocket in the “A” Pit.

Mark Kielbaso in the A Pit

Mark Kielbaso in the "A" Pit.

Left to Right Claus Hedegaard Chris Johnston and Roy Verburgt at the Okorusu Mine

Left to Right: Claus Hedegaard, Chris Johnston and Roy Verburgt at the Okorusu Mine.

Chris Johnston and Roy Verburgt discussing A Pit pockets of fluorite

Chris Johnston and Roy Verburgt discussing “A” Pit pockets of fluorite.

A Pit pockets of fluorite

“A” Pit pockets of fluorite.

A Pit pockets of fluorite

“A” Pit pockets of fluorite.

A Pit pockets of fluorite

“A” Pit pockets of fluorite.

A Pit pockets of fluorite

“A” Pit pockets of fluorite.

Chris Johnston  Mark Kielbaso and Mike New inspecting A Pit pockets of fluorite

Chris Johnston , Mark Kielbaso and Mike New inspecting “A” Pit pockets of fluorite.

South African Iron and Steel Industrial Corp. (Iscor) now known as ArcelorMittal South Africa, procured the property in the late 1940’s and worked it intermittently through the early 1970’s for metallurgical grade fluorspar to feed their steel furnaces in South Africa.

Collecting fluorite in the A Pit Mark Kielbaso lower and Mike New upper

Collecting fluorite in “A” Pit. Mark Kielbaso lower and Mike New upper.

Collecting fluorite in the A Pit Mark Kielbaso lower and Mike New upper

Collecting fluorite in “A” Pit. Mark Kielbaso lower, Mike New upper.

Chris Johnston in the A Pit

Chris Johnston in “A” Pit.

Collecting fluorite in the A Pit Mark Kielbaso lower and Mike New upper

Collecting fluorite in “A” Pit. Mark Kielbaso lower and Mike New upper.

Chris Johnston in the A Pit

Chris Johnston in “A” Pit.

Collecting fluorite in the A Pit John Lucking lower and Mike New upper

Collecting fluorite in “A” Pit. John Lucking lower, Mike New upper.

Early Exploration of the C Pit with Mike New and Chris Johnston

Early Exploration of “C” Pit with Mike New and Chris Johnston.

Early Exploration of the C Pit with Chris Johnston and Mark Kielbaso

Early Exploration of “C” Pit with Chris Johnston and Mark Kielbaso.

Mark Kielbaso and Roy Verburgt inspecting B Pit fluorite

Mark Kielbaso and Roy Verburgt inspecting “B” Pit fluorite.

Collecting yellow fluorite from the B Pit

Collecting yellow fluorite from “B” Pit.

A private group out of England took over the property in the mid-eighties and was believed to be from the Weardale area while Iscor still retained an interest. A concentration plant was built by this private group, but ultimately failed.

The truck parked in the B Pit

The truck parked at "B" pit.

Inspecting new shots at the B Pit

Inspecting new shots at “B” Pit.

Collecting yellow fluorite from the B Pit

Collecting yellow fluorite from “B” Pit.

Looking back South towards Otjiwarongo from the top of the A Pit

Looking back south towards Otjiwarongo from the top of “A” Pit.

Looking back South towards Otjiwarongo from the top of the A Pit

Looking back south towards Otjiwarongo from the top of “A” Pit.

View point overlooking the A Pit with Roy Verburgt

View point overlooking “A” Pit with Mark Kielbaso (left) and Roy Verburgt (right).

Motor transport from the mine to the railhead

Motor transport from the mine to the railhead.

Okorusu ore rail cars waiting at the railhead before heading to the coast for loading

Okorusu ore rail cars waiting at the railhead before heading to the coast for loading.

Okorusu rail cars

Okorusu rail cars.

Roy Verburgt proudly having caught a Zebra Snake right and a Puff Adder left

Roy Verburgt proudly having caught a Zebra Snake (right) and a Puff Adder (left).

Zebra snake left and Puff Adder right caught outside the mine office at Okorusu

Zebra snake (left) and Puff Adder (right) caught outside the mine office at Okorusu.

Belgian chemical producer Solvay took control over the property in 1997 and retains control to this day. The mine at the time of this writing is no longer producing fluorspar and is looking at alternatives for producing revenue.

A green fluorite from the A Pit

An example fluorite specimen from "A" Pit.

A cranberry fluorite specimen from the B Pit

An example fluorite specimen from "B" Pit.

A cranberry phantom fluorite specimen from the B Satellite Pit

An example fluorite specimen from "B" Satellite Pit.

A yellow fluorite specimen from the C Pit

An example fluorite specimen from "C" Pit.

A cranberry phantom fluorite specimen from the C Pit

An example fluorite specimen from "C" Pit. Photograph: Jeff Scovil

A cranberry phantom fluorite specimen from the C Pit

An example fluorite specimen from "C" Pit. Photograph: Jeff Scovil

A green fluorite specimen from the D Pit

An example fluorite specimen from "D" Pit.

Part 2 of this story will focus more on the specimens than on the history of the mine and the infrastructure at the site.

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