• Chemistry: CdCO3, Cadmium Carbonate.
  • Class: Carbonate.
  • Group: Calcite.
  • Uses: A minor ore of cadmium and as mineral specimens.
  • Specimens

Otavite is a rare mineral from the famous mines of Tsumeb, Otavi (hence the name), Namibia. It is one of only a few cadmium minerals as cadmium is usually a trace element in other minerals. Other cadmium minerals include: Native elemental cadmium; the oxide mineral monteponite; the sulfide minerals greenockite, hawleyite, cadmoselite, shadlunite, barquillite, cernyite and quadratite; the sulfate mineral niedermayrite, and the arsenate minerals andyrobertsite, and keyite. All are rare minerals, as is otavite. Otavite is a member of the Calcite Group of minerals. Most other members of this group are quite common and include such well known minerals as calcite, siderite, rhodochrosite, smithsonite and magnesite.


  • Color is usually white, but can also be yellowish brown, reddish brown and brown.
  • Luster is adamantine to pearly.
  • Transparency crystals are usually translucent to transparent.
  • Crystal System is trigonal; bar 3 2/m.
  • Crystal Habits are limited to crusts and tiny scalahedral crystals.
  • Cleavage is perfect in 3 non-perpendicular directions forming rhombs.
  • Fracture is conchoidal.
  • Hardness is 3.5 - 4.
  • Specific Gravity is 5 (very heavy for a translucent mineral).
  • Streak is white.
  • Other Characteristics: Effervesces with acid and some specimens have fluoresced red under shortwave UV light.
  • Associated Minerals includes azurite, malachite, smithsonite and calcite.
  • Notable Occurrences include the type locality of Tsumeb, Otavi (hence the name), Namibia; Blanchard Mine, New Mexico, USA and Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia.
  • Best Field Indicators are density, reaction to acids, cleavage, color and locality.

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