Nickel is a silver-white metal with high ductility, toughness, and strength. It has the chemical symbol Ni. In Virginia, nickel is found as iron-nickel-cobalt sulfides. Nickel is a good thermal conductor and resists corrosion. It is a critical ingredient in stainless steel, and is combined with other metals for specialty applications in the chemical, nuclear, and aerospace industries. It is the fifth most abundant element in the earth.
Year of first production in Virginia: pre-1861
Location of first production in Virginia: Lick Fork, Floyd County
Year of last production in Virginia: unknown
Location of last production in Virginia: Lick Fork, Floyd County
Total cumulative production in Virginia: unknown
Current annual production in Virginia: none
Nickel was mined on a small scale from northern Floyd County before the Civil War, and again in the early years of the twentieth century. The ore bodies were gabbro dikes containing nickel-bearing pyrrhotite and chalcopyrite. The mafic intrusions are in granitic gneisses in the Blue Ridge Province.
Selected References: Walsh-Stovall, C., Rimstidt, J. D., Robinson, E. S., Stovall, R. L., 1989, Exploration for magnetic sulfide deposits in the Virginia Blue Ridge, in Evans, N. H., ed., Contributions to Virginia geology VI: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 88, p. 17-21.
Watson, T. L., 1907, Mineral Resources of Virginia: Lynchburg, Virginia, Jamestown Exposition Commission, 618 p.
(available as Virginia Division of Mineral Resources, 2003, Digital reprint of T. L. Watson’s 1907 Mineral resources of Virginia: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 175, [CD-ROM; 2003, September 1].