Carbon in the form of flake graphite may have a lustre ranging from dull to metallic. In gradations of black to grey, the flat plates with hexagonal edges seem more drab than eye-catching.
The non-metallic element has vast applications and potential, from the common pencil lead to industrial and aerospace purposes, and beyond. Located in the Precambrian Grenville Province, eastern Ontario seemed to be a prime area for a graphite mine. About 70 kilometres from Kingston, the Portland Graphite Mine drew the interest of resource companies since the mid-1900s. Then the attention quietly vanished.
The Grenville Province is a geological section marking the last tectonic events that shaped the Canadian Shield, encompassing an enormous region that extends from northeastern Canada to Texas in the United States and farther. It is home to a treasure trove of mineral and element deposits.
Occurring as crystalline or flake layers in metamorphic rocks such as schists, impure marbles and gneisses, “graphite may also be found in organic-rich shale and coal beds,” according to University of Waterloo.
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