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Other mining

Other types of minerals mined in Western Australia during the twentieth century include nickel, diamonds and manganese.


Diamonds were first found in Western Australia at Nullagine in the Pilbara in 1895, although not on a sufficient scale to support a mining industry.  Other minor finds were made elsewhere, but it was the Kimberley area which was identified as a likely location for diamond bearing rock in the late 1960s, and that was where the first large scale exploration began in 1972.
The first significant deposits were discovered in the Ellendale "pipes" in 1976, followed by the Argyle deposit in 1979.  Production began around the Argyle "pipe" in 1983, and from the rock itself in 1985.  Economic concentrations of diamonds were also discovered at the adjacent Bow River in 1983, and production began there in 1987.  Although the Argyle mine is the world┬╣s largest diamond mine, giving Western Australia about 41% of world production, Argyle produces mainly industrial and small semi-gem stones, where the value per carat is low.   
While there is a small industry in Western Australia, stones for jewellery are usually exported to the major cutting centres in New York, Belgium, India and Israel. Industrial stones are exported in a variety of closely defined grades. These are mostly used in machine tools, with the USA, Japan and Germany being the major consumers.

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