Kings Mountain pegmatite district

Region East, Southeast
Mineral systems
Deposit types
Critical minerals
Other minerals

Information leading to the delineation of this focus area

Basis for focus area Cassiterite occurs in pegmatites and greisen of the Kings Mountain tin-spodumene belt, about 2 miles wide by 25 miles (35 km) long from east of Cherryville, North Carolina through Kings Mountain, North Carolina, and into Gaffney, South Carolina (Gair and Horton, 1989). Smaller pegmatite belt based on known occurrences. Mineral deposits are in Gaston County, 25 miles west of Charlotte, and include Kings Mountain mine, Cleveland County. Recent description and map of Kings Mountain spodumene-tin pegmatite district presented in Horton and Gair (1989; figure 24). In South Carolina, cassiterite occurs in pegmatites intruding amphibolite and in placer deposits.
Identified resources Historical production of lithium (spodumene) and tin (cassiterite).
Production Unknown.
Status Proposed spodumene mining to begin 2023. Past mining and exploration (1950s-1988).
Estimated resources > 5.9 million metric tons Li.
Geologic maps Horton and others (2017), scale 1:500,000; Horton (1987), scale 1:250,000 scale; Goldsmith and others (1988), scale 1:250,000; Horton (2008), scale 1:24,000.
Geophysical data Inadequate Rank 3 aeromagnetic coverage over 70% of the focus area, 30% Rank 5; Rank 5 aeroradiometric coverage.
Favorable rocks and structures Pegmatitic deposits cutting the Roan Gneiss and Carolina Gneiss.
Deposits Kings Mountain tin mine (MRDS dep_id: 10078600; USMIN Site_ID: NC00002), Hallman-Beam mine (MRDS dep_id: 10074662), Ross, Falls, Atlas, Ledoux, Patterson and Blue Ridge mines.
Evidence from mineral occurrences MRDS; USMIN; Stuckey (1965).
Geochemical evidence Spodumene pegmatite in Kings Mountain pegmatite district contains Li, Fe, Au, mica, and columbite-tantalite.
Geophysical evidence Surrounding rocks show elevated eTh.
Evidence from other sources See Stuckey (1965).
Comments Although first recognized as early as 1906, the economic significance of the spodumene-bearing pegmatites of the Kings Mountain district was not realized until 1942. Today, this relatively small area in Cleveland and Gaston counties contains ore reserves that represent more than 80% of known lithium (spodumene) reserves. Lithium (spodumene) mineral production ceased with the 1998 closure of the FMC Corporation mine south of Cherryville. FMC’s Lithium Division produced a full range of downstream compounds, lithium metal, and organic lithium compounds at its facilities in Bessemer City, North Carolina. Rockwood Holdings, Inc. has announced that the expansion of its lithium production operation in Kings Mountain is proceeding to construction. The project is funded in part by a $28.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to expand and upgrade the production of lithium materials for advanced transportation batteries. When completed, the expansion will be a state‐of‐the‐art facility to produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide. Currently, the site produces other lithium salts and lithium metal for primary batteries.
Cover thickness and description Bedrock to <10 m.
Authors J. Wright Horton, Jr., Nora K. Foley, Arthur J. Merschat, Anjana K. Shah, Bernard E. Hubbard.
New data needs Geologic mapping.
Geologic mapping and modeling needs Geologic mapping of pegmatites and surrounding country rocks.
Geophysical survey and modeling needs High resolution aeromagnetic and aeroradiometric coverage to help with framework geology. Aeromagnetic data may image mafic rocks, associated structures, and possibly alteration zones. Radiometric data can help with geologic mapping in vegetated terrane.
Digital elevation data needs Lidar complete.