Formula: Cu2(PO4)(OH)
Anhydrous phosphate containing hydroxyl
Crystal System: Orthorhombic
Specific gravity: 3.97 measured, 3.972 calculated
Hardness: 4
Streak: Light green
Colour: Light to dark green, blackish green, olive-green; bluish green to light green in transmitted light.
Solubility: Easily soluble in acids and ammonia
Common impurities: As

Hydrothermal environments

Libethenite is a secondary mineral in the oxidised zone of copper deposits, associated with malachite, azurite, pyromorphite, (Dana) pseudomalachite and chrysocolla (HOM). The phosphate is often derived from the weathering of apatite and other rock-forming phosphates such as monazite and xenotime. A rare case of probable primary libethenite from a greisen deposit has been reported (Mindat).


At Block 14, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia, libethenite is associated with corkite-hinsdalite, tsumebite and pyromorphite, and more rarely with sampleite and torbernite. At a deeper level it is associated with dufrénite, strengite and beraunite, as well as corkite-hinsdalite (AJM 3.1.47-50).

At the Kintore cut, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia, libethenite is a late-forming mineral in quartzite associated with corkite-hinsdalite. Mineral assemblages here usually include libethenite - pseudomalachite - azurite and libethenite - pyromorphite - hemimorphite - sampleite (AJM 3.1.47-50)

At Desolation prospect, Cloncurry, Cloncurry Shire, Queensland, Australia, libethenite is always associated with malachite and chrysocolla, and sometimes with pseudomalachite (AJM 17.2.85).

At the Mount Kelly deposit, Gunpowder District, Queensland, Australia, the copper ores overlie primary zone mineralisation consisting of quartz-dolomite-sulphide veins hosted in siltstone and schist. Libethenite is rare, as olive-green coatings with hematite and pyrite oxidising to jarosite on siltstone (AJM 22.1.23).

At the type locality, the Podlipa deposit, Ľubietová, Slovakia, libethenite occurs in a polymetallic hydrothermal ore deposit associated with malachite (Mindat).

At the Old Reliable Mine, Copper Creek, Bunker Hill District, Pinal county, Arizona, USA, libethenite is common in clusters to several mm across and as single crystals to about 0.5 mm. It is found growing on muscovite variety sericite or chrysocolla that commonly line cavities. It is sometimes found with pseudomalachite, but is more often the only phosphate mineral in the cavity (R&M 96.2.154).

At the Chino mine, Grant county, New Mexico, USA, libethenite occurs in the oxidised portion of the orebody associated with pseudomalachite, apatite and chrysocolla (R&M 84.6.498).

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