| The author has visited Batalha mine in Paraíba state, Brazil, a hometown of gParaíbah tourmaline. The inspection continued to Mulung and Quintos mines in the adjacent state Rio Grande do Norte. They are all actively mined today and their products are filling the active demand of Japanese domestic market.
Current situation of Paraiba tourmaline mines in Brazil is reported here.
Copper-bearing elbaite tourmaline is commonly called gParaíbah tourmaline in the industry after the name of a state in Brazil from where the material was first found. Similar tourmaline was found later in the adjacent state Rio Grande do Norte and it has been supplying a demand of Japanese market. In recent years copper-bearing tourmaline also found in countries, far from Brazil, in Africa such as Nigeria and Mozambique, and how to name the new material has been controversial. Some people in the industry say Brazilian tourmaline has been depleted and most of gParaíbah tourmaline currently circulated in Japanese market is from Africa.
The author has visited the mines of gParaíbah tourmaline in Brazil to inspect their current situation and dig out the truth of the rumour.
♦Location and Access♦
Paraiba state and adjacent Rio Grande do Norte state in Brazil are located in the very opposite side of the earth from Japan. They can be reached via Europe or Via America by airplane, but the latter route has better flight connection. Eleven hours flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles, twelve hours flight from L.A. to São Paulo and then five hours flight to Natal plus four hours drive finally took the author to Parelhas in Rio Grande do Norte. Parelhas is a small country town close to both Mulung mine and Quintos mine with a population of 20,000. To get to Batalha mine in Paraíba state, The author had to take another ride for one hour on a paved road and then for more than half an hour on gravel.
Pegmatite containing gem-grade tourmaline is scattered around Queimadas mountains (that is called Quintos mountains by local people) extending across Paraíba and Rio Grande do Norte states.