The fourth-grade classes at Hardyston Elementary School want Franklinite to become the official state mineral of New Jersey.
Principal Jennifer Cimaglia said they recently wrote letters in support of the designation.
“This was the perfect project for the students to participate in,” she said. “The letters will go to Trenton to the Statehouse to be read as endorsements for this bill.”
A bill passed in the Senate on Oct. 17 declared Franklinite as the New Jersey state mineral. The bill was referred to the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.
Franklinite is an oxide mineral belonging to the normal spinel subgroup’s iron series. It is named after its discovery at the Franklin and Sterling Hill mines.
William Truran, Hardyston and Sussex County Historian, has been educating students about Sussex County and New Jersey’s history.
He asked fourth-grade teacher Holly Romahn if the students could participate in the Franklinite campaign.
Truran said Franklin, Ogdensburg and Sparta schools also are involved in the effort to inform the Legislature of the importance of Franklinite. Letters of endorsement are pending before the town councils.
Franklinite had many uses when it was being mined. It contains iron and zinc, and the zinc was smelted and used for galvanizing (coating iron or steel with zinc for rust proofing), cosmetics and the making of brass, which was used as ammunition during the two world wars.
The area’s iron and zinc mines have been a prime resource for New Jersey.
“It has also been the reason for many immigrants, along with locals, to have gained employment during the last 200 years in making New Jersey the great state it is today,” said Truran.
CORRECTION: Franklinite was described incorrectly in an earlier version of this article.