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Mining
Exciting new mining prospects are being explored in Eyre Peninsula's Gawler Craton where the mining sector has identified new iron ore, uranium, kaolin, oil, gas, copper, gold plus diamonds on Flinders Island and mineral sands on a prehistoric beach near Ceduna on the Great Australian Bight.

Eyre Peninsula also has an established mining sector with the main contributors currently mineral sands, gypsum, salt, graphite, marble and jade. It is home to Australia's largest gypsum mine which exported more than 1.3 million tonnes to interstate and overseas markets from the Thevenard port near Ceduna currently being assessed for deepening to take larger ships to Handy Max size.

 

GAWLER CRATON GRANITE JADE
MINERAL SANDS DIAMONDS GYPSUM
SALT KOALIN URANIUM
GRAPHITE IRON ORE AMAZONITE
GAWLER CRATON
The Gawler Craton covers approximately 440,000 square kilometres of central South Australia, including most of the electorate of Flinders.

 

Tectonic Map of Gawler Craton below generated by Geosurveys Australia Pty Ltd.

GRANITE
The following is an extract from an article written by Jeff Olliver of Olliver Geological Services published in Issue 4 – Volume 2 of the Discovering Stone Magazine 2003.

 

Attractive red granite has been quarries near Calca, 35km Southeast of Streaky Bay on the coast of Eyre Peninsula since 1975.

Marketed as Calca Red, Empire Red, Dragon Red and Autumn Brown this granite is hard, durable, even-grained, uniform in texture and colour, takes an excellent polish and is a worthy Australian replacement for similar imported stone. Early Sydney projects include the walkway between Circular Quay and Opera House, forecourt of Opera House, Regent Hotel and Pitt Street Mall.

The red colour is due to fine inclusions of iron oxide, probably hematite, in the main feldspar which is microline Perthite. Quartz content reaches 50%, higher than the 20-45% for typical red Hiltaba Suite granite, thus making Calca the hardest granite in Australia to cut and polish and hence the most durable.

Since commencement of mining in 1975 to the end of 2001 production has totalled 53,971 tonnes comprising;

Calca – 50,898 tonnes with a peak of 5,084 tonnes in 1989
Calca South – 2,985 tonnes from 1990 to 1998 with a peak of 1,443 tonnes in 1998
Calca East – only 88 tonnes in 1990

The photos are supplied by John Drexel from Primary Industries & Resources South Australia (PIRSA). Visit the PIRSA website at www.pir.sa.gov.au

JADE
Cowell Jade was discovered by a local farmer Harry Schiller in 1965 on his property at Mount Ghearty 20 km north of Cowell on Eyre Peninsula. Mining for Jade began in the mid 1970’s. Cowell jade ranges in colour from pale grey, green-grey (blue gum colour) and bottle green to very dark green and black.

 

Premium Black, Green, Grey and Blue Gum varieties of Jade from the Cowell Jade province. Jade is the symbol for prosperity, perfection and love and also the symbol for 35th Wedding Anniversary.

Pictured below are jewellery pieces made from Jade. The jade gold ring is Jadeite where the bracelet is made from black jade resulting in the different shade of green.

Jadeite Ring

Black Jade Bracelet

For further information about Cowell Jade and what products are available for sale contact can be made by email jade@geosurveys.com.au or visit their website www.geosurveys.com.au/jade.

COWELL
Jade Plus
26 Main Street
COWELL SA 5602
Phone: (08) 8629 2455 ADELAIDE
Geosurveys Australia Pty Ltd
334 Glen Osmond Road
MYRTLE BANK SA 5064
Phone: (08) 8379 5969
DIAMONDS
Diamonds have been discovered at Flinders Island which is just off the coast from Elliston. Flinders Island is a part of the Gawler Craton.

 

Exploration is still being carried out and a number of significant finds have been made however the core pipe has not been found.

It has been said that the chemistry of the area is similar to some of the best diamond mines in the world.

GYPSUM
The largest known undeveloped gypsum resource in South Australia is located 26km south of Streaky Bay on Eyre Peninsula. The deposits remain undeveloped mainly due to a lack of Port facilities.

 

Gypsum is deposited into Quaternary beach dune systems by evaporation of seawater seeping into lakes. Gypsum is used as sources for plaster and cement on Yorke and Eyre Peninsula and also in the agriculture industry.

Lake MacDonnell near Penong in South Australia is one of the biggest gypsum deposits in the southern hemisphere. The gypsum is exported to New Zealand where it’s dehydrated and processed into gyprock for the building industry. The deposit is estimated at anything between 500 and 700 million tonnes with about 1.2 million tonnes are shipped out a year from Thevenard.

SALT
Salt is a naturally occurring product on our planet. A large salt mine is located at Penong, near Ceduna on the far west coast of South Australia using a method of naturally occurring salt water and solar evaporation.

 

The mined salt can be used for a variety of uses such as:
* Food
* Swimming pool
* Water softener
* Industrial needs
Cheetham Salt operate the Penong salt mine.
www.cheethamsalt.com.au

GRAPHITE

Eyre Peninsula is home to one of the largest known resource of crystalline flake graphite located at the Mikkira Graphite Province (Uley Mine) near Port Lincoln.
The graphite is extracted from the site by using a bulldozer to strip overburden and a bucket excavator to extract the ore and waste rock which is carried out by a local contracted company.

Graphite from the Uley mine is exported to markets in Japan, Korea and Europe however it has not been mined for many years.

Graphite is largely used in the manufacturing of refactory bricks in foundries, and less common in brake linings, lubricants and batteries. Graphite can now be purified to 98% purity which is suitable for use in the defence industry. Using this refined graphite a new use is a graphite block to hold renewable energy from wind solar and wave energy as heat which has exciting potential to provide base load power and excess heat for the desalinisation of water.

IRON ORE

The recent viable deposits at Wilgerup near Lock on Eyre Peninsula of Iron Ore have been contracted by two Chinese companies. They have contracted to buy 10 million tonnes of ore over five years, which reflects the growing demands for the ore not only in China but Japan and India. Centrex Metals have a positive outlook that other deposits will also be mined within the region.

The Wilgerup discovery is cause for optimism however "the key to making them commercial is efficiency and infrastructure". (Centrex, Managing Director - Gerard Anderson)

In a release by Centrex Metals to the Stock Exchange, Wilgerup Project has 9.1 million tonnes of ore. In the past four financial years iron ore prices jumped by 19 percent, 71 percent, 19 percent and 9 percent.

Centrex are discussing strategies with Flinders Ports (Port Facilities), Genesee & Wyoming (Rail Facilities) and AAB Grain (Loading Facilities) to establish major infrastructure developments to enable the movement each year of 100,000 tonnes of ore. It is anticipated that mining will start in August 2008 with the first shipment in December 2008.

It is projected that the Wilgerup project will create employment for 60 people full-time, whilst the local support infrastructure requirements of delivering fuel, food retailers, mechanics and electricians could see as many as 200 jobs. "Some economists say for every $1 created from mining another $4 is generated into the community". (Jason Kuchel, Executive Director, Electronics Industry Association)

Photos: Centrex Metals Ltd, "From Explorer to Producer" presentation by Gerard Anderson, Managing Director. Further information can be accessed at www.centrexmetals.com.au

 

Environmental Strategies - Centrex Metals have extensive experience in the efficient, effective handling of Iron Ore in Western Australia. From a local perspective Eyre Peninsula in particular Port Lincoln would not accept the prospects of becoming a "Whyalla" with red dust and associated health issues.

Centrex will use best practice ore handling, this will include:-

Pressurised storage shed

Enclosed conveyors from train unloader to storage shed and from storage shed to top ship loader

Centrex will crush and screen products at the mine, there will be no processing in the port

There will be no "open air" stockpile at the port

Centrex operations will be heavily regulated - continual environmental monitoring

Infrastructure - It is essential that the government take a role in providing and also facilitation of the private-public infrastructure to meet business and population growth within the region. This is why the SA Chamber of Mines and Energy's, Jason Kuchel has presented a 20 year infrastructure plan to government.

URANIUM

Throughout Eyre Peninsula there are numerous uranium occurrences and radiometric anomalies.

The world currently consumes about 66,500 tonnes of uranium in nuclear reactors yet only about 45,600 tonnes comes from operating mines.

Numerous significant uranium occurrences have been recorded on south-eastern Eyre Peninsula. Primary pitchblende uranium mineralisation has been recorded from Port Lincoln areas, secondary uranium minerals along fractures, joints and foliations have been identified in a number of areas particularly in the hills west of Cowell. There are a number of different styles if uranium mineralisation in regard to the uranium mineral potential of Eyre Peninsula and Southern Lake Torrens.

Alternative sustainable energy resources must be considered for the future such as solar, wind, hot rocks and hydro power along with uranium. The reliance on gas and coal in this country is considered to be damaging the environment to an extent that even if wind farms and biomas plants were built at the rate of one a week for the next few years this would not substitute coal and gas.

Further information and interesting websites: http://www.uraniumsa.org , www.pir.sa.gov.au , www.lincolnminerals.com.au

THORIUM

There is considerable overseas scientific research which indicates that this product has huge potential as an alternative energy source to uranium.

Countries across the world including Australia are focused heavily on global warming and greenhouse gases, one way to address this issue is cleaner fuels and looking at alternatives that are available including Thorium to replace uranium and the advantage of not producing plutonium.

Thorium has potential but for its usage to be viable and safe it is essential that financial backing be provided for research.

KAOLIN

Eyre Peninsula - Recent exploration on Eyre Peninsula has outlined very large Kaolin resources in Mt. Hope, Kimba, Poochera and Mt. Sturt. Of these, weathered Hiltaba Suite granite in the Carey Well area 15 km south west of Poochera, has returned the highest quality Kaolin. Substantial resources have been delineated which are suitable for beneficiation to meet specifications required for the top end of paper coating, ceramic and the filler market.

These resources are held by Unimin Australia Limited. Limited availability of low salinity ground water throughout Eyre Peninsula will restrict the scale of any proposed mining operations using current wet process technologies to separate and size Kaolin particles.

Kaolin is the most important of the industry clays in terms if consumption and value. Properties of fine particle size, high brightness and whiteness make it a most versatile mineral, with applications in a wide variety of industries.

The largest single use, taking 40% of production is the paper industry to produce high quality gloss paper and good printability.

Other usage is clay based ceramics, white cement, fibreglass, fillers, extenders in rubber, paint, plastic and adhesive. Kaolin has other minor uses which include pesticide and herbicide carriers, zeolite manufacture, catalyst supports, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

There have been deposits found and mined in the Mount Lofty Ranges at Williamstown and Birdwood since the early 1900s. Other deposits have been found and mined at Woocalla (North of Port Augusta) and Booleroo Centre (South East of Port Augusta).

AMAZONITE

Is a gemstone variety of green microline, a feldspar mineral.

Amazonite can be confused with Jade as it has similarities in colours, being blue-green or yellow-green.

Feldspar is abundant in South Australia, gem quality stones are rare. Amazonite has been recorded from pegmatite near Koppio and in the Mount Davies area. Light blue-green amazonite has been mined from a coarse grained quartz-feldspar pegmatite at the Baila Hill deposit on southern Eyre Peninsula.

For further information www.minerals.pir.sa.gov.au Office of Minerals and Energy Resource Centre, Gems and Semi Precious Stones of South Australia.

CONCLUSION

The development of South Australia's minerals, particularly those in the Gawler Craton, which was recognised at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, the largest trade fair in the world, as being of world-class significance, will be an important part of South Australia's economic future.

For more information on any of the above sections you may like to contact:

Eyre Regional Development Board
89 Liverpool Street
Port Lincoln 5606
Phone: (08) 8682 6588
Int: +61 8 8682 6588
Website: www.eyreregion.com.au