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The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Super Pit Gold Mine in Western Australia

By Edited Aug 26, 2016 3 4

If you decide to travel through Western Australia, make sure you stop at Kalgoorlie Boulder and check out this Open cut mine. It is well worth a visit. As we lived here for several years, we make a point to pop in and see the progress and changes. Each time the hole is deeper and wider every couple of years. As you will see in some of the photos on our recent visit, even the scrapers and people at the bottom almost look like little ants or toy trucks from the lookout area as so far away.

If traveling in your own caravan or motor home there is a free camp site area, where you can stay overnight in town. Plus you can park your caravan and RV in the street near Woolworth's shopping center allowing you to shop with ease.

Welcome to the super pit lookout

Lookout to the open cut mine

Originally the Golden Mile was a collection of many miners  with their own mining leases.  Alan Bond used his initiative to buy the individual leases to create one big company, from which gold could be extracted for less expense. He had the vision to see the advantages of consolidating it into one open cut mine. Although it was not until 1989 that the Super Pit started by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty. Ltd.

Do you know how massive the super pit is? It stretches 3.6 km long, 1.5 km wide and over 500 m deep, that is huge and growing larger all the time. They say you can see it from space too if lucky enough to go into space, that is.  About 15 million tonnes of rock is shifted every year; most of this is waste rock.

The Super Pit produces about 850,000 ounces of gold each year, which outweighs other mining centers in Australia. The Super Pit is the biggest gold open-pit mine in the country.

Super pit Kalgoorlie

This picture shows the beautiful colors in the rocks in the mine

Process for finding and treating gold

Ore loaded trucks making their way to the top

Trucks loaded with ore and a water truck keeping the roads damp to lay the dust

  • The first step in finding and building a gold mine is with the use of drill rigs.
  • Then the Geologists look at the rock core to see if they can see any gold in the white quartz veins. Special machines can see inside the rock and detect what is inside it.
  • They pump Anfo explosives into pre-drilled holes, then the wired detonators attached. Once everyone is out of the area, the charge is set-off exploding the rocks to reveal the beautiful gold.
  • When the area is safe, the scrapers move in to move the rock and load the trucks. Water trucks work to keep the area damp to lay the dust. The ore is then taken to the crushers then broken down into small bits and put into a stockpile until treated in the Processing plant.

Man and machines look like toys from the lookout

Milling the gold

Ore stockpile in background

Picture shows the coarse ore stockpiled in background

The ore is then broken down to a fine powder in a big mill. Steel balls pulverize the rock as the mills turn round and round at a high-speed. Once this process is complete and the pure gold extracted, they pour the liquid gold into moulds, which form gold bars and each one stamped with a code.

Did You Know?

Gold is the only yellow metal that does not tarnish. They use gold mainly to create beautiful jewelry, and dentistry for fillings and capping. Some countries use gold to show case and beautify their buildings.

Layers show roads as they dig deeper

This photo shows a close-up of the old roads as they go deeper

An hour spent visiting the Kalgoorlie Super will be well spent.  You will be amazed at how massive this open cut mine really is.  Another great place to visit is the Hanault Tourist mine.

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Comments

Dec 5, 2014 2:46am
LeighGoessl
Wow, that is huge. Great photos!
Dec 5, 2014 6:43pm
shar-On
thanks Leigh, yes it is a fascinating place how huge it has become and how small the huge machinery look from the lookout.
Dec 6, 2014 2:45am
RoseWrites
It's amazing how deep they go to find gold. Excellent photos. Thumbs and pinned, etc.
Dec 6, 2014 11:38pm
shar-On
Thanks Rose, yes, lot of work to get it out too.
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Bibliography

  1. "Super pit gold mine." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Pit_gold_mine. 2014.

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