Big Bell Gold Mine

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Big Bell
Big Bell Gold Mine.jpg
The entrance to the mine
Big Bell Gold Mine is located in Australia
Big Bell Gold Mine
Big Bell Gold Mine
Location in Australia
Location Big Bell
State Western Australia
Country Australia
Coordinates 27°17′42″S 117°39′20″E / 27.29500°S 117.65556°E / -27.29500; 117.65556Coordinates: 27°17′42″S 117°39′20″E / 27.29500°S 117.65556°E / -27.29500; 117.65556
Production inactive
Financial year 2008-09
Opened 1980s
Closed 2003
Company Westgold Resources Ltd
Website Westgold Resources Limited CMGP
Year of acquisition 2011

The Big Bell Gold Mine is a gold mine located at Big Bell, 24 km north-west of Cue, Western Australia.[1] The mine was owned and operated by Harmony Gold at the time of its closure in June 2003, having produced 2.6 million ounces of gold during its lifetime, but was sold to Aragon Resources Limited in January 2010.[2]

The mine was, for a short time in 2008, owned by Monarch Gold Mining Company Ltd, who went into administration in June 2008.[3] Big Bell never entered production under Monarch's ownership.


The historical Big Bell mine produced 730,000 ounces of gold at 4.04 g/t from 1904 to 1955.[4] The mine was a very big, low grade ore deposit at Paton's Find, and was developed by the Premier Gold Mining Company in the 1930s. With the closure of the mine in the mid-1950s, the town of Big Bell declined and was virtually deserted.[5]

The mine reopened in the 1980s, then owned jointly by ACM Limited and Placer Pacific, having been described as Australia's biggest unexploited gold deposit at the time.[6]

The mine was later owned by Normandy Mining, until October 1999, when New Hampton Goldfields Limited acquired Big Bell for A$12 million in cash and A$17 million in shares.[7] New Hampton was taken over by Harmony Gold in April 2001 for A$54 million.[1][8]

Harmony closed the mine in June 2003, having found previous assesements of the grade at Big Bell over optimistic and making mining the deposits thereby unprofitable.[4][9]

The Big Bell processing plant was removed from January 2007 onwards for a cost of A$5.2 million and transported to Westonia, to become part of the new Edna May Gold Mine.[1][10]

Monarch Gold purchased the mine from Harmony in November 2007 in a deal that saw the company acquire Hill 50, Big Bell, St George, Star and the Great Fingall deposits for A$65 million, 30 million of this in cash.[11] Monarch already owned the Mount Ida and the Davyhurst Gold Mine, who had both recently entered production at the time.

Monarch was to take possession of the mine on 1 April 2008 and complete the financial transaction on 30 June 2008,[12] but failed to make the final payment before entering administration, despite receiving improved sales conditions and a cash-cost reduction.[13]

Monarch appointed Pitcher Partners as voluntary administrators on 10 July 2008, with all mining operations thereby being put on hold. Big Bell thereby returned to Harmony's ownership, Harmony not having received the final payment of the sale.[14]

In January 2010, the mine was sold to Aragon Resources Limited for A$3 million,[15] who chose to rename the project to Murchison Bell. The mine was initially sold to Fulcrum Resources, which was quickly acquired by Aragon.[1][2]

Aragon Resources Limited was acquired by Westgold Resources Limited in May 2011, with the Big Bell mine falling under their Central Murchison Gold Project.


Rodney George Criddle, a Jumbo operator at Big Bell, died on 2 September 2000 in an underground rock fall. The underground operations of the mine were closed until 15 September following the accident. Another man Anthony John Hyde was injured. [16][17]


Production of the mine:

Year Production Grade Cost per ounce
1998-99 [18] 140,396 ounces 2.93 g/t US$300
2000 [4] 423,355 ounces 2.85 g/t A$419
2001 [4] 169,342 ounces 2.8 g/t A$417
2002 1 [4] 71,676 ounces 2.34 g/t
2003 2 [9] 509,654 ounces 2.22 g/t
2004–present inactive

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d MINEDEX website - Cue / Aragon search result accessed: 6 February 2010
  2. ^ a b Acquisition of Cue Gold Project Completed Aragon Resources announcement, published: 19 January 2010, accessed: 6 February 2010
  3. ^ MONARCH GOLD MINING COMPANY LIMITED (MON), accessed: 15 January 2010
  4. ^ a b c d e The Australian Mines Handbook: 2003-2004 Edition, page: 69, accessed: 6 February 2010
  5. ^ History of country town names - B Landgate website, accessed: 6 February 2010
  6. ^ Big Bell Gold Mine May Be The First Casualty Of Proposed Tax The Sydney Morning Herald, published: 9 June 1986, accessed: 6 February 2010
  7. ^ NDY`s ann: Sale of Big Bell Normandy Mining ASX announcement, published: 8 October 1999, accessed: 6 February 2010
  8. ^ Copy of letter despatch to HNG Shareholders by Harmony Gold New Hampton ASX announcement, published: 8 January 2001, accessed: 6 February 2010
  9. ^ a b Harmony annual report 2003 accessed: 20 January 2010
  10. ^ Annual Financial Report 2007 Catalpa Resources, published: 28 September 2007, accessed: 6 February 2010
  11. ^ MONARCH ACQUIRES HILL 50 GOLD Monarch ASX announcement, published: 8 November 2007, accessed: 18 January 2010
  12. ^ Monarch finalizes Mt Magnet Purchase Agreement Monarch ASX announcement, published: 4 February 2008, accessed: 18 January 2010
  13. ^ Harmony and Monarch renegotiate sale Harmony news release, published: 8 July 2008, accessed: 18 January 2010
  14. ^ Sale agreement between Harmony and Monarch Gold terminated Harmony news release, published: 1 August 2008, accessed: 18 January 2010
  15. ^ Aragon to Purchase Fulcrum and 1.5Moz Resource Aragon Resources announcement, published: 23 November 2009, accessed: 6 February 2010
  16. ^ Progress Report - Big Bell New Hampton ASX announcement, published: 11 September 2000, accessed: 6 February 2010
  17. ^ Big Bell rock fall account at mining inquest ABC News, published: 14 May 2002, accessed: 6 February 2010
  18. ^ Normandy Mining Ltd - 1999 Mine-by-Mine Operating Results accessed: 14 February 2010

External links[edit]