Australia’s Biggest Mines

Australia’s Biggest Mines
March 24, 2020 Prime Engineering

Did you know that Australia produces some of the world’s biggest mineral deposits? Boasting 21.9 billion tonnes of iron ore and 3,550 tonnes of gold, completely stretched over considerably the largest and most sparsely populated islands in the world. Since Australia has the second-lowest population density around the globe, falling only behind Antarctica, there is a HUGE amount of space for large-scale mining.

Here at Prime Engineering, we find the opportunities of the mining industry fascinating. We’ve put together the 5 largest mining projects in Australia:

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Boddington Gold Mine in Western Australia is the nation’s largest gold producing mine, located 130km south-east of Perth, also producing copper concentrate. This three-way joint venture was originally between Newmont, AngloGold Ashanti and Newcrest with Newcrest becoming the sole owner in 2009. A heavy investment was made to expand the site, which now produces 5.2 million ounces of gold a year and 80 million pounds of copper per year – making it one of the most productive in Aus!

Fimiston Gold Mine, also known as the Super Pit gold mine is also in Western Australia and is the country’s biggest mine if you are measuring by scale. This mine covers 3.5km by 1.5km on the surface and has no plans of scaling back, in fact, there are plans to extend to a depth of 700m. At one point it was the most productive gold mine until 2012 when Boddington mine took its place.

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Olympic Dam Metal Mine is BHPs giant poly-metallic mine, located in South Australia and is one of the largest and most productive in both Australia and around the globe. It’s the sixth-largest known copper ore body, fifth-largest gold ore body and largest uranium ore body around the world. There are also significant quantities of silver and it’s positioned as the largest underground mine in Australia

Cannington Silver Mine is the world’s largest producer of silver and lead in Queensland. The name comes from the sheep and cattle station where it was founded, discovered as an anomaly during an aerial survey of the region over 30 years ago! Making huge strides in their environmental responsibilities, the owner South32 has large plans to build a 3MW solar power farm to provide electricity to the mine. It’s predicted that this will reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the mine by up to 6,000 tonnes per year!

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The Argyle Diamond Mine, a Rio Tinto owned project in Western Australia, has mined more than 800 million carats of diamonds over the past 30 years. Originally an open-pit mine, the Argyle shifted to underground operations in order to access the AK1 pipe, where diamonds were deposited at even greater depths. Sadly, the decline in resources in this mine have made the project unsustainable in the long run and Rio Tinto had to announce the mine’s closure for 2021.

Prime Engineering understands the significance that the mining industry has on the growth of the Australian economy and international trade, and we cannot wait to see even bigger strides as the industry is combined with environmental sustainability. If you would like any advice on mechanical engineering or technical solutions, reach out to us!