Pyrite (ignitor)

Who am I?


Pyrite existed since the Greek times and got its name from there too, "Pyr" meaning fire. It's also referred as Iron Pyrite or the most well known: Fools Gold because it has the same physical characteristics of gold, fooling people into thinking it was the valuable object itself. The time when it was exactly discovered isn't well known but we can tell from outside resources that it has been know by human for quite a while. The Greeks were believed to have found this rock and used it as a source for fire. Hence it's lithos meaning "stone which strikes fire" in reference to the spark produce when Pyrite is struck against iron.

chemical composition and material

Pyrite's physical attributes is a pale brass-yellow reflective metal, tarnishes darker and iridescent. Its luster is metallic and has a dark greenish streak. It's density is 4.8 - 5 g/cm(3) and is insoluble to water. Formula is FeS(2) [iron sulfide]. It's 46.6% iron and 53.4% sulfide. This molecule fuses easily and becomes magnetic along with giving of SO(2) fumes when insoluble in HCl.

pyrite as a solid

uses and history

Again, as I said earlier, Pyrite's discovery is kinda foggy to us humans. The time it was first discovered isn't clear but it is believed to have been found by Greeks, since they gave it its name. We do know that pyrite was first used to make sulfuric acid around 1000 A.D. and sulfuric acid is a very important acid in today's industries. Pyrite enjoyed some popularity in the 16th centuries as a source of ignition in early firearms, most notebaly the wheelock, where the cock of the gun held a limp of Pyrite against a circular file to strike sparks needed to fire the gun. It was also really popular in this era, and kinda still today, in used to make Marcasite Jewelry. Marcasite Jewelry, made from small faceted pieces of Pyrite, often set in as silver, was known since ancient times and was popular in the Victorian Era. Pyrite also remains in commercial use for the production of sulfur dioxide, for such applications like the paper industry and the manufacture of sulfuric acid.

20th century, Pyrite is used as a mineral detector in radio receivers and is also still used by crystal radial hobbyists. Not only that but it's used today as the cathode material for Energizer brand non-rechargeable energy. It's still used to make some jewelry but it isn't used as much in weapons due to the advancement in technology.

Modern Connections and Impacts

prices and shipment

Pyrite contains 0.25% of Gold and the price for Gold is about $1500 per troy ounce. 1 Ton of Pyrite will therefore equal 73 Troy ounces of Gold worth over $109,000. Thats a lot of money but Pyrite isn't a guaranteed money maker. Here's a video that tells you how Gold can be extracted from Pyrite.

The cargo that Pyrite is shipped in is a non combustible / low fire risk container. Extremely dusty and "appropriate precautions shall be taken to protect machinery from dull cargo."

  • Stowage factor = 0,33 to 0,50 m^3m/t
  • Humidity / moisture = 0% to 7%
  • Ventilation = no special requirements

Risk Factors of Shipment:

  1. Cargoes expelled to asitetion in the form of engine vibration
  2. ships motion and wave impacts resulting in compaction of cargo. the effects of this process can be a transition of the Pyrite from a solid to a viscous liquid state in which all or part of the cargo can flatten to form a liquid surface. localities and producers

pyrite formation, localities and producers

Pyrite is usually found associated with other sulfides or oxides in quartz veins, sedimentary rock, and metamorphic rock, as well as in coal beds and as a replacement mineral in fossils. Despite being nicknamed fool's gold, pyrite is sometimes found in association with small quantities of gold.

Fine specimens of Pyrite have been found all throughout the world. Well known locations include Leadville, Colorado! Well developed Crystals were found in pared City, Utah. Other U.S. locations include Illinoise and Missouri.

There are Pyrite found all around the world too, places such as:

  • Germany
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • South Africa etc.
  • Peru

The specimens from Peru seem to be much brighter and tarnish less easily.

The biggest producer of Pyrite is Spain. Tinto River containing many specimens.

Other important producers are:

  • Japan
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Peru

environmental impacts

Pyrite is oxidized within a waste dump and that affects water bodies and the land as well by creating acid that can kill living natural organisms. Pyrite is a beautiful molecule but also a really dangerous one to the earth. It's acids and oxidation fumes affect all the organism surrounding it. The stiochiometric describing the oxidation of Pyrite and AMD is

2FeS^2 + 15\2O^2 + H^2O ---> 2Fe^3+ + 4SO^4^2+ + 2H+

"Oxygen diffuses from zones of higher to zones of lower oxygen concentration through the air-filled pore space in the waste materials. AMD produced by the oxidation process within the dump may cause a long-term environmental problem in the study area. Such acidic drainages containing iron, sulphate and many other toxic metals can affect the quality of the receiving water bodies." -Ali Moradazeh

Links and Sources Used


Created with images by Hegyesi - "Pyrite" • sky_hlv - "Rio Tinto y Puente Gadea (Villarrasa)"

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