Harris, Keray

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                                     KERAY HARRIS
                         Blackville man’s samples are out of this world
                                   By Bill Brewer

Keray Harris has a collection that is simply out of this world. Literally.

The 50-year-old Blackville resident has a consortium of more than 25,000 rocks and minerals from every continent on earth. He even has a meteorite about the size of a grapefruit that crashed in central New Brunswick. His goal is to one day have a local minerals museum. “It’s probably one of the most impressive (private) collections (of rock and minerals) in Atlantic Canada” Harris said.

The career construction worker has worked on his collectible gold mine for more than 25 years when he started in grade 7 in Blackville. His teacher, Bernice MacAleer, brought in her own collection for the class to see and it impressed Harris so much he began one of his own. And on the next career day at school, he took in a small rock specimen sheet containing five fossil specimens and some copper, lead and zinc ore from the Brunswick and Heath Steele mines.

That small sheet of items has now turned into mountains of boxes and pails filled with specimens in basement and throughout his house.

When the Miramichi Weekend first got a glimpse of Harris’ gatherings, it was in a small, cluttered room on the main floor of his home. The room contained about 200 boxes of various sizes. “This is maybe one-tenth of a per cent of the whole thing,” Harris said laughing.

After showing dozens of minerals from North and South America, Europe and Africa, he moved down to his basement where the bulk of his collection is. Downstairs five-gallon pails containing items are stacked waist-high throughout half the room and on the other side stands a table loaded down with box stacked four deep and cabinet that holds more items than many university geology labs.

When asked why he gathered up so much, Harris’ reply was simple. “It’s just the love of the (mining) industry,” he said. “Not just the rock itself, but what can be made from it.”

His compilation of rocks and minerals grew fast as Harris found specimens on his own and received items from mining companies. And as the collection grew, he was able to swap and trade with other collectors both privately and at trade shows.

He also kept his eyes open for chances while he worked in various locations across Canada. “If I got a chance and found a collector nearby, I’d be gone,’ he said. “I’d give ‘em a call, arrange to meet, and, bang, I’d be there.”

Wayne Lockhart, a geologist and prospector from Boiestown is one person that helped Harris build up his collection. “I’ve been to Baffin Island and I’ve been to Chile among other places and if I’m collection specimens, I always try to bring some back to Keray,” Lockhart said.

And about five or six years ago, Lockhart tried to open up a mineral museum in the Boiestown area with Harris. Although the project didn’t happen, the geologist said Harris certainly had the capabilities to fill it.

Now, after a few more years of collecting and Planning, Harris hopes he’s a little closer to his dream of opening up a minerals museum where he can display specimens from all corners of the globe. “I think it would be ideal for the Miramichi and will sustain renewed interest in a highly rich mineralized area of the world,” he said.

Source: Miramichi Leader – April 5, 2005

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