♦Rio Grande do Norte♦
Mulung Mine

  This mine is located at the base of a mountain 5 kilometres north-northeast to Parelhas, and copper-bearing elbaite tourmaline was found here in 1991. The mine is now owned by MINERAÇÃO TERRA BRANCA. According to the director Mr. Daylor-Addario, over 100 staff is working at the mine. Thse author took a quick glance to see more than 60 female staff busily sorting gParaíbah tourmaline. Pegmatite in this area consists of feldspar that is mostly of albite, quartz, muscovite and tourmaline. Many pieces of muscovite were scattered in the field on the mountain, reflecting sunlight. A shaft is deeper than 20 meters and many caves are running from the shaft. The bedrock is quite hard and a rock drill is used as cutting roll for the shaft, or dynamite is occasionally used. Red lepidolite is said to be an indication of existence of gParaíbah tourmaline, so that when it occurs mining operation become very cautious.
  This mine has been producing many small pebbles under 1 carat. Its monthly production is about 300 carats and it can be assumed that most of small pebbles sold in the Japanese domestic market are supplied with them. According to staff of the mine, these stones show vivid neon blue colour at the time of their excavation and do not need to be heat-treated.

Photo 2: gParaíbah tourmalines from Mulung mine; Left to right, 2.751ct, 4.240ct. Courtesy of GLORIOUS GEMS, photo by Masaaki KOBAYASHI (GAAJ).
Photo 3: Panoramic view of Mulung mine.
Photo 4: Shaft entrance in Mulung mine.
Photo 5: Descending to a shaft in Mulung. Simple elevator (?) using metal barrel.
Photo 6: A tunnel in Mulung mine.
Photo 7: Mulung mine. Paraiba tourmaline found at a cutting roll.
Photo 8: Panning at Mulung.
Photo 9: Mulung mine. Paraiba tourmaline found in panning.
Photo 10: Separation at Mulung mine. An observer is watching workers.
Photo 11: Mulung mine. Secondary separation in a rocked room, with two observers watching workers from sides.
Photo 12: Crystals of Paraiba tourmaline found in Mulung.

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