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Pentlandite, Chalcopyrite, and Pyrrhotite

The Mineral pentlandite




Pentlandite is an important mineral due to its nickel content, but it rarely forms in interesting specimens for collectors. It usually occurs together with Pyrrhotite, and may even be intergrown together with it.

Pentlandite is both an individual mineral, and the name of a mineral group. The Pentlandite group is composed of rare sulfides that have similar chemical structures, with Pentlandite being the most prominent member of the group. Pentlandite is named in honor of Joseph Barclay Pentland (1797–1873), a natural scientist from Ireland who first identified this mineral.
Chemical Formula (Fe,Ni)9S8
Composition Iron and nickel sulfide, sometimes with some cobalt
Variable Formula (Fe,Ni,Co)9S8
Color Silvery yellow to light bronze
Streak Bronze to light brown
Hardness 3.5 - 4
Crystal System Isometric
Crystal Forms
and Aggregates
Crystals are very rare. Most often grainy, platy, and massive.
Transparency Opaque
Specific Gravity 4.6 - 5.1
Luster Metallic
Cleavage None. May exhibit parting in one direction.
Fracture Conchoidal to uneven
Tenacity Brittle
In Group Sulfides; Simple Sulfides
Striking Features Color, mode of occurrence, and lack of magnetic properties.
Environment Ultramafic nickel-rich ore deposits.
Rock Type Igneous, Metamorphic
Popularity (1-4) 3
Prevalence (1-3) 3
Demand (1-3) 2


Pentlandite AUCTIONS



USES
Pentlandite is an important ore of nickel.

NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES
Pentlandite is not a common mineral in collections, and few localities have produced specimens of note. The premier locality for this mineral is the Sudbury district in Ontario, Canada, especially at the Frood and Worthington Mines. Other localities include the Copper King Mine, Gold Hill, Boulder Co., Colorado; and the Bushveld Complex in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Cobalt-rich Pentlandite, known as Cobaltpentlandite, is described from the Varislahti Deposit, Karelia, Finland.


COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS
Pyrrhotite, Chalcopyrite, Pyrite, Biotite, Nickeline

DISTINGUISHING SIMILAR MINERALS
Pentlandite differs from Pyrrhotite and Chalcopyrite by lacking any magnetism, and is usually less yellow than Chalcopyrite.


pentlandite PHOTOS
 
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
 
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