The Southwest Graphite MinesBurnet County, Texas

Southwest Graphite Mines operated out near Lake Buchanan, on the north side. The aerial views show it’s proximity to the dam. It ceased operations a few years ago. I have read that all graphite production now comes from other countries with no active mines left in the United States.

I remember in times past seeing workers from the Graphite Mine around Burnet, covered in black. You could “only see the whites of their eyes”.

There was a packaging or warehouse facility in town, Burnet, along the highway near where the Dollar General and Whataburger is now. I think there was a time that it was shipped out by rail as well as trucks. Those workers would also be covered in black.

Uses for Graphite
Graphite is a naturally-occurring form of crystalline carbon. It is a native element mineral found in metamorphic and igneous rocks. Graphite is a mineral of extremes. It is extremely soft, cleaves with very light pressure, and has a very low specific gravity. In contrast, it is extremely resistant to heat and nearly inert in contact with almost any other material. These extreme properties give it a wide range of uses in metallurgy and manufacturing heat and chemical resistant containers and other objects, battery anodes, a dry lubricant and the “lead” in pencils.

Graphite and Diamond
Graphite and diamond are the two mineral forms of carbon. Diamond forms in the mantle under extreme heat and pressure. Most graphite found near Earth’s surface was formed within the crust at lower temperatures and pressures. Graphite and diamond share the same composition but have very different structures.

The carbon atoms in graphite are linked in a hexagonal network which forms sheets that are one atom thick. These sheets are poorly connected and easily cleave or slide over one another if subjected to a small amount of force. This gives graphite its very low hardness, its perfect cleavage, and its slippery feel.

In contrast, the carbon atoms in diamond are linked into a frameworks structure. Every carbon atom is linked into a three-dimensional network with four other carbon atoms with strong covalent bonds. This arrangement holds the atoms firmly in place and makes diamond an exceptionally hard material.

A Rod Mill Being Taken Off The Railroad In Burnet. To be delivered by truck to the Graphite Mine west of town.

The photo above was taken from the book below.

More About The Graphite Mine In Burnet County, Texas

I was at a luncheon one day a few years ago and was seated next to Kathy “McCoy” Schnelle, a 1969 graduate of Marble Falls High School.

As many of you know, her folks had the land, a big pecan orchard that is now Meadowlakes. We were actually at the restaurant at Meadowlakes.

During our conversation I ask what had brought her family to Marble Falls. She explained that they were originally from California. Her maternal grandfather was involved in the Graphite Mine up out of Burnet and fell in love with this piece of property down on Lake Marble Falls or perhaps it was still just a river at that time and bought it. Anyway, the property was left to her folks and her dad decided to establish the pecan orchard.

The newspaper article above talks about her grandfather, Mr. Clemson and his involvement in the Southwest Graphite Mines.

4 thoughts on “The Southwest Graphite MinesBurnet County, Texas

  1. Interesting!!!I had no idea there was any in Texas.I’ve been trying to closely follow the electric car battery market lately.  Stock in battery manufacturing companies is going to be good soon.A company named ILIKA holds a lot of patents on new types of batteries and I think there will be graphite in those batteries.  Someone estimated over 100 pounds of graphite per battery. Quantumscape  (QS),  may be one to watch.   Panasonic is another.If you hear anything on an aggressive battery company, please let me know.Bob   

    Precision Micrographics & Imaging, Inc. 8204 North Lamar Blvd., Suite C-20 Austin, Texas 78753 (512)893-8930 http://www.precisionmicrographics.net

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