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Super Pit Gold Mine
Kalgoorlie The Big Pit DSC04498.JPG
Super Pit gold mine
Super Pit gold mine is located in Australia
Super Pit gold mine (Australia)
Location Kalgoorlie
State Western Australia
Country Australia
Owner
Company Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd
Website KCGM website
Year of acquisition 1989
Production
Financial year 2008
Ounces of Gold 606,000
History
Opened 1893


The Fimiston Open Pit, colloquially known as the Super Pit, is Australia's largest open cut gold mine. The Super Pit is located off the Goldfields Highway on the south-east edge of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia. Although the pit is actually oblong in shape, it approximately 3.5 kilometers long, 1.5 kilometers wide and 360 meters deep. At these dimensions, it is large enough to be seen from space.[1]

The Super Pit is owned by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd, a company owned 50/50 by Barrick Gold Corporation and Newmont Mining Corporation. The mine produces 850,000 ounces (28 tonnes) per year of gold, and employs around 550 employees directly on site.

Contents

Earlier stages

Originally consisting of a number of small underground mines, consolidation into a single open pit mine was attempted by Alan Bond, but he was unable to complete the takeover. The Super Pit was eventually created in 1989 by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd. [2]

Geology

Most of the good gold mined in the Super Pit occurs within ore lodes formed by ancient shears in a rock unit called the Golden Mile Dolerite. As the result, the area is known as the Golden Mile even though the lodes occur in an area over 2 km in width and 1 km in depth.

Production

Mining is via conventional drill and blast mining via face shovels and dump trucks. Around 15 million tonnes of rock is moved in any given year, consisting primarily of waste rock.

Gold within the Golden Mile lode system is unusual in that it is present as telluride minerals within pyrite. In order to recover the gold, the ore must be crushed, passed through a gravity circuit to recover the free gold present in some of the higher-grade lodes, and then subjected to flotation to produce an auriferous pyrite concentrate. This is then roasted at a small smelter outside Kalgoorlie-Boulder to liberate the gold from the tellurides, with dore bars poured.

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Figures

Past production figures were:[3]

Year Production Grade Cost per ounce
2000 715,164 ounces 2.27 g/t Aus $ 325
2001 616,344 ounces 2.14 g/t Aus $ 397
2002 720,050 ounces 1.73 g/t Aus $ 222
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007 628,000 ounces 1.53 g/t
2008 612,000 ounces 1.56 g/t
2009

Viewing and tourism

Gold mines in the Kalgoorlie region

This renowned Kalgoorlie-Boulder landmark is currently 3.5 km long, 1.5 km wide and 360 m deep, and will eventually stretch 3.9 km long, 1.6 km wide and reach a depth exceeding 500 m. Since 1893, when Irishman Paddy Hannan first made his famous discovery, more than 50 million ounces (1,550 t) of gold have been mined from the Golden Mile.

The Super Pit is open for viewing at the public lookout daily between 7 am and 9 pm. Blasts occur regularly and can often be viewed from this lookout located off the Goldfields Highway in Boulder.

Free tours of the Super Pit run once a month on Boulder Market Days. The tours give a behind the scenes look at the mining operations and equipment. A highlight of the tour is the opportunity to view the pit from the OBR (Oroya Bypass Road) internal lookout.

References

  1. ^ Perth Now: "Super Pit 'Scars' Earth"
  2. ^ Treadgold, Tim. (1995) History of the pit's development from 1989 to 1995 Australia's mining monthly, May 1995, p. 31, 33-36,
  3. ^ The Australian Mines Handbook - 2003-04 Edition page: 127

External links

Coordinates: 30°46′29″S 121°30′34″E / 30.77472°S 121.50944°E / -30.77472; 121.50944


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