Cobalt in Forsterite-olivine Deposits of the Blue Ridge, North Carolina and Georgia, a Preliminary Investigation.
This report presents the results of an evaluation of two forsterite- olivine deposits in the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province of the southeastern United States. Data from the Buck Creek Deposit, Clay County, NC, and the Lake Burton Deposit, Rabun County, Georgia, are compiled and evaluated. Both deposits contain 0.01% Cobalt--about average cobalt concentration for Ultramafic rocks, including forsterite-olivine. Because cobalt is a strategic metal with advanced materials applications and no domestic mine production of cobalt is underway, further consideration was given to cobalt in these forsterite-olivine deposits. There are 25 forsterite-olivine deposits in close proximity in the Blue Ridge containing 1 billion tons of potentially cobalt-bearing forsterite-olivine rock. Cobalt recovery is not feasible at the two deposits studied in detail, due to low cobalt concentrations and metallurgical concerns. The contained cobalt value at mid-1987 prices about $1 per ton of forsterite-olivine and this cobalt is tied to primary silicate mineral bonds, requiring costly, unproven processing. Data suggest that cobalt occurrences in the other Blue Ridge forsterite-olivines are similarly restrained.