Mine Car Rocks

The rocks that fill the car were collected from the Dacey Mine, where the cart spent its working life. The pink and orange calcite is a stunning background for the protruding green apatite and shiny black phlogopite mica. Also included in the cart are specimens of black hematite, an iron ore, from Cantley’s Haycock Mine.

The Dacey Mine was originally worked for its apatite from 1890 to 1900. In 1958 and 1959 it was worked for both apatite and calcite which were used for stucco materials. Apatite is a rich source of phosphorous and is used in supplements, pharmaceuticals, textiles, ceramics, fertilizers, insecticides and explosives. Although not considered precious, exceptional specimens are cut into gemstones for jewelry.

Mica was mined at the Dacey Mine from 1900 to 1904 and in the 1930’s (when known as the Martin Mine, owned by A.G.Martin) and then again from 1960 to the mine’s permanent closing around 1964. It was used as an insulator in all kinds of electrical equipment, stove doors, toasters and lubricants. High-quality mica was essential for aeroplane spark plugs. During the Second World War, production statistics of this strategic material from Cantley’s Blackburn Mine were classified. It is now used for electrical components in the aerospace industry, metallic paint and cosmetics. According to local legend, there was a house in Cantley insulated entirely with mica.

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