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beryl_fig1_smBeryl (Be3Al2(Si6O18)), a silicate mineral containing 12–13.5% beryllium oxide (BeO) is one of the main sources of the lightweight metal beryllium.

World mine production is about 240 tonnes (2013), mainly from the United States of America. A further 20–25% of consumption is from recycling. 

Uses

  • The main use is for beryllium–copper alloys in electronics
  • Due to its extreme lightness it is used in aerospace, defence and science applications
  • Its neutron reflecting properties are utilised in nuclear reactor control rods
  • Gem varieties include aquamarine (blue), emerald (deep green), morganite (pink) and heliodor (golden yellow)

Beryl in South Australia

beryl_photo

Selection of Beryl crystals from Olary Pegmatites

South Australia's total recorded production of 136 t was mined between 1941 and 1963 from 34 pegmatite bodies in Willyama Supergroup rocks in the Olary district, mainly as a hand-picked by-product of feldspar mining.

Additional reading 

Crooks AF and Abbot PJ 2004. Beryl in South Australia. South Australia Department of Primary Industries and Resources Report Book 2004/25.

Olliver JG and Steveson BG 1982. Pegmatites in the Olary Province. A review of feldspar and beryl mining north of Olary and the results of reconnaissance sampling of feldspar. South Australia. Department of Mines and Energy. Report Book, 81/74.