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Minerals of the former Maybach Mine (Coal), Saarland/Germany

by Alexander Gehrlein, Sulzbach/Saar, Germany


The beginnings of the Maybach Mine go back until in the year 1873. In those days, they mined under the name Trenkelbach Mine. It was renamed on the name Maybach Mine in the year 1882. The name comes from the former Prussian Minister of State, Albert of Maybach, which lived off 1822 to 1905.
On 25.10.1930 a hard pit explosion happened. That day, 98 miners died.
In the year 1930 the Helene Mine and in 1935 the St.Ingbert Mine were assigned to the Maybach Mine. In 1948 it came through one 860 gallery to the compound of the Maybach and the Mellin Mine. In 1964 the closure of the mining-site Maybach occurred. The minefield was assigned to the Reden Mine. Transportation of supplies and cable ride occurred only. Finally the closure of the shaft occurred in 1981. The today freshly dumped material comes, since the Maybach Mine does not mine coal anymore, from the "Verbundwerk Ost"(Goettelborn Mine and Reden Mine) of the limited company Saar mines.


The mineral coal mined by the Verbundwerk Ost comes from the Saar carbon. The Saar carbon itself consits of "Stefan" (upper part of the upper Carbon, to be devided into Stefan A, B and C) and "Westfal" (the mesial part of the upper Carbon, to be devided into A, B, C and D). The coal seams formed themselves with beginning of the Westfal C in gigantic inland sinks after the folding of the variszic mountain range. The formation of these seams ended in Stefan. Consequently the main rocks are mineral coal, clay schist, silicate brick and conglomerates.
The material dumped on the Maybach slope comes from both, Stefan and the Westfal. The "mountains" of the old slopes, in between covered with birches, come from the Westfal because Maybach mined right in the Westfal.



The Pyrite to be found here forms shaping-rich crystals with up to 10 mm on the edge. The pyrite is found in almost any kind of rock. Sometimes it occurs also in form of pyritised Fossils. The most frequent forms are: Hexahedron and octahedron. Their combinations are not so frequent, but you can find them. I already succeeded with finds of botryoidal developed pyrite.

The here found Marcasite does not occur as often as the pyrite does. You find Marcasite with Calcite on silicate brick. However, also in small cavities of the mineral coal you can find perfect crystals. The marcasite forms excellently developed, golden yellow, a little flat appearing (rhombic-dipyramidal) crystals. Normally, they don't reach more than 4 mm.

The Chalkopyrite is more seldom. Either it is coarse, or forms crystals up to 5 mm, mostly darkly tarnished which are to be found then with Pyrite and Calcite or Siderit. Sometimes, pretty glossy twins sit up to Dolomite rhombohedrons, in paragenesis with Haematite.

Sphalerite is very rare. The largest find (but not the best) me to succeed was a crystal of 4 mm that was entirely sourrounded by Selenite. Smaller crystals to 2 mm come with Calcite. They are translucent and brownish. However, a big portion luck appertains to such a find.

Bornite is most extremely rare and occurs coarsely in dolomite.


Quartz (Rock-Crystal) is even rarer than the Sphalerite. I succeeded with some finds with which the crystals sat up on siderite or Calcite. The crystals can reach sizes to 30 mm. Mostly only smaller crystals but than well developed Doppelender are found.

Goethite crystals are relatively frequently to be encountered in comparison with Sphalerite or Quartz. A reddish silicate brick forms the best find possibilities, because this contains sometimes dolomite veins. In these veins the Goethite (3 mm long crystals) is then grown in in the dolomite.

Haematite occurs in form of scarlet to iron-black crystals. Thes are either separately or build spheroidal aggregates or even the famous "Eisenrosen" as one knows it from the Alps. The single crystals are mostly slightly transparent.


Calcite forms beautiful scalenohedras and rhombohedras with sizes up to 10 mm. The scalenohedras are milkier-white or white. The rhombohedras are mostly yellowish-white, transparent unlike the Dolomite crystals. With the Calcite following minerals occur: Pyrite, Marcasite, Chalkopyrite, Sphalerite, Siderite, Dolomite and Selenite.

You can even find Aragonite, occuring here in the form of clear pseudohexagonalen crystals until 3 mm size (said more exactly in triplets appearing pseudohexagonal).

Dolomite is present in the form of yellowish-white rhombohedras (up to 15 mm).

Malachite occurs together with Calkopyrit and Siderite on the old Maybach dumps. It forms small spherulites that sit up to Chalkopyrite and Siderite. Sometimes, very small crystals are also existing.

Siderite, mostly together with silicate brick, forms brownish-yellow rhombohedras and leaved crystals. The crystal size varies according to the development between 3 mm (Rhombohedron) and 10 mm (leaved crystals, mentioned also discuses). The siderites of the old dumps are mostly coverd by a light brown coating.


Selenite is mostly coarse. However, when also most extremely rare, small (up to 2 mm) transparent crystals can be found. Particularly pretty are, however, orange and white varying fuzzy Selenites.

Baryte, which is very rare, can form big leaved crystals about 10 mm. Perfectly developed crystals that are transparent then do not reach this size by far. Baryte occurs mostly in paragenesis with Calcite and Sulfides.


Dickite has been found in small, white crystals.

In conclusion there are the following minerals from the Maybach Mine (01/2003):

Common Paragenesises:
-Pyrite, Marcasit, Calcite
-Chalkopyrite, Calcite
-Chalkopyrite, Siderite, Malachite
-Sphalerite, Calcite
-Sphalerite, Selenite
-Quartz, Siderite
-Goethite, Hämatite, Pyrite, Dolomite
-Baryte, Calcite

Thanks to Dr.Gerhard Müller for identifying the Dickite and the Bornite.

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