NEW JERSEY – A mineral often found in the northwest portion of New Jersey but regarded as rare around the globe would become the official mineral of the state under legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho and approved Monday by the Senate.
The legislation, S-1727, would elevate franklinite in a nod to Sussex County’s rich mineral mining heritage.
“This bill recognizes the many contributions of mining in the area,” said Oroho (R-24). “Franklinite is known around the world and this legislation acknowledges the role of the mines and the miners throughout our state’s history for their positive contributions to New Jersey’s mining heritage.”
Franklinite is only found in New Jersey’s zinc ore zone of Franklin and Ogdensburg, according to Minerals.net. An important zinc ore, the mineral was often mined with other zinc minerals at the now-closed for active excavation Franklin and Sterling Hill mines that bore more than 350 distinct mineral species.
“The Sussex County area produced the most desirable zinc in the world in the 19th and 20th centuries,” Oroho said. “Over time, Franklinite has contributed fiscal benefits to the entire region. Thriving mining operations especially helped fuel the early development of the Borough of Franklin, often referred to as the Mineral Capital of the World, funding the construction of water, electric and other crucial infrastructure.”
Though no longer pulled from the local ground, brilliant, colorful specimens of franklinite remain favorites of world’s mineral hobbyists and collectors.
Franklin Mineral Museum and Sterling Hill Mining Museum remain popular tourist attractions in the state, especially for student class trips.