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Bixbite Mining History
Red Beryl discovered at Topaz Cove in the Thomas Range of Juab County, Utah, 100 miles north of the Ruby Violet project, by Maynard Bixby. Mineral named "Bixbite" in his honor. Concentrations are non-economic and of non-gem quality.
Gem-quality red crystals were discovered in the Wah Wah mountains
of Beaver County, Utah, by Mr. Lamar Hodges, of Fillmore, Utah. Mr. Hodges was prospecting for uranium at the time. Twelve (12) unpatented lode claims staked: Ruby, 1 through 4, and Violet, 1 through 8. Prospect worked as a hobby mine by the Hodges family and by intermittent leases, known as the "Ruby Violet claims".
Hodges sells the mining right to the Harris family of Delta, Utah, for $8000. Harris family begins small-scale, open-cut, artisan mining. Additional mechanization is employed over time, until a maximum production of approximately 2000 tons of ore per year is attained in early 1990's.
The red crystals were identified for the first time as Bixbite / Red Beryl crystals by GIA.
First visit to Ruby Violet property by a reconnaissance geologist for Kennecott Copper. Two 25-kg samples collected and processed by modified caustic fusion return an average grade in finished goods of approximately 1 carat per ton.
1994 - March
KEC negotiates to acquire an Option to Purchase the property from newly-formed joint-venture between the underlying partners, the Rex Harris family and Red Emerald, Inc.
1994 - June
Geologic mapping of the claim block completed. Two (2) five-ton bulk samples collected from the "ore" and "waste" sectors of the artisan mining zone.
1994 - October
First core-drilling campaign completed, comprising a total of seven (7) holes of 6inch diameter with an aggregate depth of 2040 feet. Total sample of 15 tons were processed.
1995 - March
Metallurgical refinement tests by KEC indicate that a crush-screen-sort process is the only
practical method for gem recovery.
1995 - April
Completion of a technical and commercial "White Paper" by KEC resulting in the decision to fund an accelerated evaluation of the Ruby Violet property.
1995 - October
Second core-drilling campaign completed, comprising a total of forty-nine
(49) holes with an aggregate depth of 10,794 feet.
1996 - March
Underground mining of bulk sample completed, with the collection of about
11,000 tons of material.
1996 - August
Processing completed on approximately 7,000 tons of material selected form the underground bulk sample. In all, about 83 kilos of red beryl recovered.
1996 - September
Cutting, resulting in a production of 693 carats of finished goods.
1996 - December
Acquisition of KEC and Kennecott Mineral Company (KMC) by Rio Tinto Zinc of London. Resultant KEC and KMC reorganization has profound effect on completion of evaluation/acquisition's hesitancy to exercise Option.
1997 - February
KEC calls informally for "expressions of interest" from interested parties within gemstone industry to consider some basis of acquisition of KEC's interest in Option.
1997 - March
Negotiations completed with Amelia Investments Ltd, KEC, the claims two owners Rex Harris family and Red Emerald Inc. That resulted in an "Option Agreement" amongst parties. Amelia established GMI and transferred assets to GMI.
1997 - May
GMI establishes exploration permit bonds with government agencies. Legal work in transferring KEC claims and data to GMI completed.
1997 - August
GMI completes drilling program which includes 13 diamond drill holes. All thirteen (13) drill holes intercepted red beryl mineralization.
1997 - October
GMI completed underground bulk sampling program. Samples from crosscuts within preexisting drifts to acquire additional beryl for processing and cutting. Approximately 2691.9 tons (short tons) of material was sampled.
1997 - November
Claim block mapping at 1"=100'. Several new exploration targets were outlined.
1998 - January
Hand reserve estimation and computerized block models created.
1998 - March
Mine planning developed using computerized block model.
1998 - April
Cutting of rough beryl from the GMI bulk sampling program completed. Preliminary engineering study for upgrade and relocation of the processing plant completed. Feasibility study "rough draft" completed.
1998 - March
Neary Resources pays to extend Option period one year (to 24 March 1999).
1998 - June
GMI completes a detailed ore reserve and level plan mine map of the deposit. This information was used to develop a mine plan, Feasibility Study and associated detailed year-by-year discounted cash flow was prepared.
1998 - December
Red Emerald (Gibraltar) Ltd. (REL) renegotiated the Option payment schedule and arranged financing that enabled GMI to exercise the Option. The new payment schedule called for a $2.5 million payment to the property owner in December 1998, a $1.0 million payment plus an interest payment of $1.05 million in December 1999, $2 million plus interest in June 2000. At this point ownership shifts to GMI. $4.5 million plus interest in June 2001, and $2 million plus interest in June 2001 in lieu of 1,000 carats of gemstones to each of the owner parties.
REL and GMI entered into an agreement whereby REL would purchase 100 percent of GMI's production. The purchases would be at a pre-agreed upon price based upon GMI's production costs and a fair and reasonable profit.
GMI began large-scale, mechanical mining of the red beryl deposit. The mine operation combined hand recovery of visible red beryl with the large-scale mechanical recovery of red beryl bearing ore for processing at the processing plant.
1999 - March
Environmental Assessments for the Large Mine Permit and the Pipeline Rights-of-Way were approved. The Bureau of Land Management issued the Pipeline Rights-of-Way Permit. GMI received an unusual written accommodation from the US Bureau of Land Management for the outstanding manner in which GMI personnel conducted themselves and cooperated with the Bureau during the permitting process.
1999 - June
The processing plant began operation. With the new primary crusher in operation
the plant can process nearly all mine run ore.
1999 - August
The processing plant reached production capacity of 70-tons of ore per day.
1999 - December
An Option payment was made to the property owners.
2000 - February
Modifications made to the processing plant greaty enhanced efficiency.
GMI actively entered the marketing arena by selling mineral specimens and gemstones at the Tucson Gem and Minerals Show in Tucson, Arizona. GMI marketed materials as an agent of REL.
2000 - June
Capital payment reaching $5.5 million and transfer of Title to Leases made by landowners
Uniqueness of Bixbite / Red Beryl
The Rarest of all beryl gemstones, Red Beryl was formed from a unique geological setting. While gem beryls are ordinarily found in pegmatites and certain metamorphic rocks, beryl from the Ruby Violet Mine, the only known location of gem-quality red beryl, is found in rhyolite. Rhyolite is a light-coloured, fine-grained igneous rock created from solidified magma or ash flows. The presence of beryl in rhyolite and its extreme rarity suggests the Ruby Violet Mine is a unique occurrence in nature.
"Red Beryl is now - and is likely to remain - the rarest of all Gem Beryls. Material from the Violet Claims provides both spectacular gemstones and mineral specimens."
Gems & Gemology Vol. XX, 1984
© Gemological Institute of America
Geological History of Bixbite
About 100 to 125 million years ago a significant geologic occurrence began the preparation for the formation of the red beryl deposit in the Wah Wah Mountains of Beaver County, Utah. The event, known as the Sevier orogenic belt, was part of a tremendous mountain building system where a system of faults thrust older layers of rock on top of younger rocks, creating mountains and wide zones of fractures that reached deep into the earth. One of the sets of east-northeast trending fractures resulting from the thrusting, is known as the Blue Ribbon lineament. This set of fractures are believed to be about 60 kilometers wide, 200 miles long and penetrate 1000's of feet into the earth. It is believed that over the years these fractures have actively moved many times.
Approximately 30 to 35 million years ago, the area that is now Southwest Utah, was subjected to a long, hostile period of volcanic activity. For at least 30 million years there were intermittent periods of volcanic flows, eruptions, and intrusions resulting in a thickness of about 1,200 meters of associated volcanic domes and flows. One of these formations of associated volcanic domes/flows, the Blawn Wash topaz rhyolite, is the host formation for the red beryl deposit. The Blawn Wash is a map unit that is believed to be 17 to 24 million years old and the red beryl deposit is located in a portion of the formation that is dated as 22 million years old.
About 17 million years ago it is hypothesized that a topaz rhyolite dome intruded at depth. The intruding rhyolite released gases and vapors that were rich with fluorine that complexed or combined with available beryllium. These gases and vapors traveled toward the surface through pre-existing fractures, fractures that were possibly associated with the Blue Ribbon lineament and newly formed fractures associated with the volcanic intrusive.
The rising hot gases and vapors encountered the remnants of a groundwater table in a Blawn Wash topaz rhyolite flow. The water table was depleted by boiling, but a steam-rich area remained to react with the mineral rich gases and vapors. The red beryl precipitated from the rising gas and vapor mixture at particular locations because of favorable chemical conditions. Additional introduction of groundwater may have resulted in a rapid and radical lowering of the temperature and the pH within the zone of deposition and beryl would no longer precipitate.