Super Pit gold mine

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Super Pit
Kalgoorlie The Big Pit DSC04498.JPG
Super Pit gold mine, c. 2005
Location
Super Pit Gold Mine is located in Australia
Super Pit Gold Mine
Super Pit Gold Mine
Location in Australia
Location Kalgoorlie
State Western Australia
Country Australia
Coordinates 30°46′29″S 121°30′34″E / 30.77472°S 121.50944°E / -30.77472; 121.50944Coordinates: 30°46′29″S 121°30′34″E / 30.77472°S 121.50944°E / -30.77472; 121.50944
Production
Production 690,000
Financial year 2009
History
Opened 1893
Owner
Company Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd
Website superpit.com.au
Year of acquisition 1989 (1989)

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, Western Australia. The pit is oblong in shape and is approximately 3.5 kilometres long, 1.5 kilometres wide and 570 metres 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) of gold per year, and employs around 550 employees directly on site.

Earlier stages[edit]

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]

Barrick Gold acquired its share of the mine in December 2001, when it took over Homestake Mining Company . Newmont became part-owner of the mine three months later, when it acquired Normandy Mining in February 2002.[3]

Geology[edit]

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 a 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[edit]

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 doré bars poured.

Gold mines in the Kalgoorlie region

Figures[edit]

Past production figures were:[4]

Year Production Grade Cost per ounce
1998-99 [5] 718,554 ounces 2.37 g/t US$236
2000 715,164 ounces 2.27 g/t A$ 325
2001 616,344 ounces 2.14 g/t A$397
2002 720,050 ounces 1.73 g/t A$222
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007 628,000 ounces 1.53 g/t
2008 612,000 ounces 1.56 g/t
2009 690,000 ounces US$609
2010

References[edit]

  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. ^ MINEDEX website Golden Mile / KCGM search result, accessed: 26 January 2010
  4. ^ The Australian Mines Handbook - 2003-04 Edition page: 127
  5. ^ Normandy Mining Ltd - 1999 Mine-by-Mine Operating Results accessed: 14 February 2010

External links[edit]