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Iron Ore

Iron ore was first mined in Western Australia around the turn of the century from small deposits east of Perth.  It was in the far north and the Pilbara, however, that the State's major iron ore industry evolved.

Yampi Sound

During the second half of the nineteenth century pearlers had used ironstone from the beaches of Yampi Sound as ballast in their vessels, while deposits of iron ore were first found on Koolan and Cockatoo islands in 1880. It was not until 1907, however, that the first lease was taken up on Koolan Island and small-scale mining began.
The first large-scale attempt to mine iron ore from Koolan Island came in 1936 when the Yampi Sound Mining Company announced its intention to supply the commodity to Japan. The Commonwealth Government placed an embargo on all exports in 1938 before and export industry could be established - a restriction brought about by Japan's invasion of China and reflecting the environment of mistrust in the years leading up to the Second World War.

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