Last updated
Category Arsenate minerals
Apatite group
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification 8.BN.05
Crystal system Hexagonal
Crystal class Dipyramidal (6/m)
(same H-M symbol)
Space group P63/m
Unit cell a = 10.250(2) Å,
c = 7.454(1) Å; Z = 2
ColorPale to bright yellow, yellowish brown, yellow-orange, white, may be colorless
Crystal habit Prismatic to acicular crystals; reniform, botryoidal, globular,
Twinning Rare on {1122}
Cleavage [1011] Imperfect
Fracture Brittle, conchoidal
Tenacity Brittle
Mohs scale hardness3.5 - 4
Luster Resinous, subadamantine
Streak White
Diaphaneity Transparent to translucent
Specific gravity 7.1 - 7.24
Optical propertiesUniaxial (-), anomalously biaxial
Refractive index nω = 2.147 nε = 2.128
Birefringence 0.019
Pleochroism Weak
References [1] [2] [3]

Mimetite, whose name derives from the Greek Μιμητής mimetes, meaning "imitator", is a lead arsenate chloride mineral (Pb5(AsO4)3Cl) which forms as a secondary mineral in lead deposits, usually by the oxidation of galena and arsenopyrite. The name is a reference to mimetite's resemblance to the mineral pyromorphite. This resemblance is not coincidental, as mimetite forms a mineral series with pyromorphite (Pb 5(P O 4)3 Cl) and with vanadinite (Pb 5(V O 4)3 Cl). Notable occurrences are Mapimi, Durango, Mexico and Tsumeb, Namibia.


Uses of mimetite

Mimetite from Namibia Mimetite 21207.jpg
Mimetite from Namibia

Industrially, mimetite is a minor ore of lead. The chief use of mimetite is as a collector's specimen, often creating attractive botryoidal crusts on the surface of the specimen. Though mimetite is also found in prismatic crystal forms, it is not used as a gemstone due to its softness. Quality prismatic forms have been found in Johanngeorgenstadt in Saxony and Wheal Unity at Gwennap in Cornwall, England.

Associated minerals

Mimetite is found in association with lead and arsenic minerals, including those minerals with which it forms a series. Some associated minerals include: calcite, galena, pyromorphite, smithsonite, vanadinite, and wulfenite.

Alternative names

Alternative names of mimetite include arsenopyromorphite, mimetesite, and prixite. Campylite is the name for a variety with barrel shaped crystals of a brownish-red or orange-yellow color and containing a considerable proportion of phosphoric acid.

Notes for identification

Useful information pertaining to the field identification of mimetite include its habit, color, and high density. However, this mineral's similarity to pyromorphite can be problematic, especially since these minerals are known to share colors. Pyromorphite is typically green, and mimetite is typically yellow, but specimens of each are known in the other's colors. As a result, some identification may require lab analysis.

Related Research Articles

Vanadinite Apatite supergroup, vanadate mineral

Vanadinite is a mineral belonging to the apatite group of phosphates, with the chemical formula Pb5(VO4)3Cl. It is one of the main industrial ores of the metal vanadium and a minor source of lead. A dense, brittle mineral, it is usually found in the form of red hexagonal crystals. It is an uncommon mineral, formed by the oxidation of lead ore deposits such as galena. First discovered in 1801 in Mexico, vanadinite deposits have since been unearthed in South America, Europe, Africa, and North America.


Wulfenite is a lead molybdate mineral with the formula PbMoO4. It can be most often found as thin tabular crystals with a bright orange-red to yellow-orange color, sometimes brown, although the color can be highly variable. In its yellow form it is sometimes called "yellow lead ore".


Anglesite is a lead sulfate mineral with the chemical formula PbSO4. It occurs as an oxidation product of primary lead sulfide ore, galena. Anglesite occurs as prismatic orthorhombic crystals and earthy masses, and is isomorphous with barite and celestine. It contains 74% of lead by mass and therefore has a high specific gravity of 6.3. Anglesite's color is white or gray with pale yellow streaks. It may be dark gray if impure.


Pyromorphite is a mineral species composed of lead chlorophosphate: Pb5(PO4)3Cl, sometimes occurring in sufficient abundance to be mined as an ore of lead. Crystals are common, and have the form of a hexagonal prism terminated by the basal planes, sometimes combined with narrow faces of a hexagonal pyramid. Crystals with a barrel-like curvature are not uncommon. Globular and reniform masses are also found. It is part of a series with two other minerals: mimetite (Pb5(AsO4)3Cl) and vanadinite (Pb5(VO4)3Cl), the resemblance in external characters is so close that, as a rule, it is only possible to distinguish between them by chemical tests. They were formerly confused under the names green lead ore and brown lead ore (German: Grünbleierz and Braunbleierz).


Leadhillite is a lead sulfate carbonate hydroxide mineral, often associated with anglesite. It has the formula Pb4SO4(CO3)2(OH)2. Leadhillite crystallises in the monoclinic system, but develops pseudo-hexagonal forms due to crystal twinning. It forms transparent to translucent variably coloured crystals with an adamantine lustre. It is quite soft with a Mohs hardness of 2.5 and a relatively high specific gravity of 6.26 to 6.55.


Crocoite is a mineral consisting of lead chromate, PbCrO4, and crystallizing in the monoclinic crystal system. It is identical in composition with the artificial product chrome yellow used as a paint pigment.


Descloizite is a rare mineral species consisting of basic lead and zinc vanadate, (Pb,Zn)2(OH)VO4, crystallizing in the orthorhombic crystal system and isomorphous with olivenite. Appreciable gallium and germanium may also be incorporated into the crystal structure.


Stolzite is a mineral, a lead tungstate; with the formula PbWO4. It is similar to, and often associated with, wulfenite which is the same chemical formula except that the tungsten is replaced by molybdenum. Stolzite crystallizes in the tetragonal crystal system and is dimorphous with the monoclinic form raspite.


Duftite is a relatively common arsenate mineral with the formula CuPb(AsO4)(OH), related to conichalcite. It is green and often forms botryoidal aggregates. It is a member of the adelite-descloizite Group, Conichalcite-Duftite Series. Duftite and conichalcite specimens from Tsumeb are commonly zoned in color and composition. Microprobe analyses and X-ray powder-diffraction studies indicate extensive substitution of Zn for Cu, and Ca for Pb in the duftite structure. This indicates a solid solution among conichalcite, CaCu(AsO4 )(OH), austinite, CaZn(AsO4)(OH) and duftite PbCu(AsO4)(OH), all of them belonging to the adelite group of arsenates. It was named after Mining Councilor G Duft, Director of the Otavi Mine and Railroad Company, Tsumeb, Namibia. The type locality is the Tsumeb Mine, Tsumeb, Otjikoto Region, Namibia.

Plumbogummite Alunite supergroup, phosphate mineral

Plumbogummite is a rare secondary lead phosphate mineral, belonging to the alunite supergroup of minerals, crandallite subgroup. Some other members of this subgroup are:


Tsumebite is a rare phosphate mineral named in 1912 after the locality where it was first found, the Tsumeb mine in Namibia, well known to mineral collectors for the wide range of minerals found there. Tsumebite is a compound phosphate and sulfate of lead and copper, with hydroxyl, formula Pb2Cu(PO4)(SO4)(OH). There is a similar mineral called arsentsumebite, where the phosphate group PO4 is replaced by the arsenate group AsO4, giving the formula Pb2Cu(AsO4)(SO4)(OH). Both minerals are members of the brackebuschite group.

Mendipite Oxyhalide of lead. Rare mineral found in the Mendip Hills

Mendipite is a rare mineral that was named in 1939 for the locality where it is found, the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England. It is an oxyhalide of lead with formula Pb3Cl2O2.

Minium (mineral)

Minium is the naturally occurring form of lead tetroxide, Pb2+2Pb4+O4 also known as red lead. Minium is a light-to-vivid red and may have brown-to-yellow tints. It typically occurs in scaly-to-earthy masses. It crystallizes in the tetragonal crystal system.


Tsumcorite is a rare hydrated lead arsenate mineral that was discovered in 1971, and reported by Geier, Kautz and Muller. It was named after the TSUMeb CORporation mine at Tsumeb, in Namibia, in recognition of the Corporation's support for mineralogical investigations of the orebody at its Mineral Research Laboratory.

The Tabataud Quarry is situated in the northwestern French Massif Central. The quarry used to be mined for its granodiorite.


Tarbuttite is a rare phosphate mineral with formula Zn2(PO4)(OH). It was discovered in 1907 in what is now Zambia and named for Percy Tarbutt.


Hidalgoite, PbAl3(AsO4)(SO4)(OH)4, is a rare member of the beudantite group and is usually classified as part of the alunite family. It was named after the place where it was first discovered, the Zimapán mining district, Hidalgo, Mexico. At Hidalgo where it was initially discovered, it was found as dense white masses in alternating dikes of quartz latite and quartz monzonite alongside other secondary minerals such as sphalerite, arsenopyrite, cerussite and trace amounts of angelsite and alamosite, it was then rediscovered at other locations such as Australia where it occurs on oxidized shear zones above greywacke shales especially on the anticline prospects of the area, and on fine grained quartz-spessartine rocks in Broken Hill, Australia. Hidalgoite specimens are usually associated with copper minerals, clay minerals, iron oxides and polymetallic sulfides in occurrence.


Carminite (PbFe3+2(AsO4)2(OH)2) is an anhydrous arsenate mineral containing hydroxyl. It is a rare secondary mineral that is structurally related to palermoite (Li2SrAl4(PO4)4(OH)4). Sewardite (CaFe3+2(AsO4)2(OH)2) is an analogue of Where is allahabad, with calcium in sewardite in place of the lead in carminite. Mawbyite is a dimorph (same formula, different structure) of carminite; mawbyite is monoclinic and carminite is orthorhombic. It has a molar mass of 639.87 g. It was discovered in 1850 and named for the characteristic carmine colour.


Mottramite is an orthorhombic anhydrous vanadate hydroxide mineral, PbCu(VO4)(OH), at the copper end of the descloizite subgroup. It was formerly called cuprodescloizite or psittacinite (this mineral characterized in 1868 by Frederick Augustus Genth). Duhamelite is a calcium- and bismuth-bearing variety of mottramite, typically with acicular habit.

Segnitite Common iron oxide mineral

Segnitite is a lead iron(III) arsenate mineral. Segnitite was first found in the Broken Hill ore deposit in Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia. In 1991, segnitite was approved as a new mineral. Segnitite has since been found worldwide near similar locality types where rocks are rich in zinc and lead especially. it was named for Australian mineralogist, gemologist and petrologist Edgar Ralph Segnit. The mineral was named after E. R. Segnit due to his contributions to Australian mineralogy.