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Gold continued


Prospecting for gold

Underground mining 1900-1972

Sons of Gwalia gold mine 1900-1960

Open cut mining

Open Cut Mining

The Western Australian gold mining industry did not recover until the boom of the 1980s. A resurgence in the price of gold saw mining companies reopen many mines where low ore grades had previously made them unprofitable. Improved extraction techniques saw the reprocessing of slime dumps - the solidified sludge from the old cyanide-based ore extraction process.
The 1980s also saw the introduction of open cut mining to old areas of gold production - like Kalgoorlie's Golden Mile and Leonora's Sons of Gwalia gold mine. The buoyant gold price made the extraction of very fine grained gold from low grade ore highly profitable. It was realised that modern methods allowed the economic mining by open cut and the treatment of an entire zone of gold bearing veins (both the veins and the intervening barren rock). In the past only the veins themselves would have been mined, but open cut mining has changed the landscape of the goldfields.

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