Gold Mining in Kalgoorlie
In June 1893, Paddy Hannan, Thomas Flanagan and Dan O’Shea found close to 100 ounces of alluvial gold near Mt Charlotte, a short distance from what is now the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. This find sparked the Western Australian gold rush and unearthed one of the richest goldfields in the world, the famous Golden Mile. By 1903 the Golden Mile was home to 49 operating mines, 88 roasters, 100 headframes and more than 3,500 kilometres of underground development. For nearly 100 years, small, individual operations worked and controlled the Golden Mile
Since its discovery, the Golden Mile has produced more than 58 million ounces of gold, the fifth largest gold producing region in the world. Today, Northern Star Resources KCGM’s operations directly contribute to Australia being the second largest gold producer in the world, with China being the largest.
At 3.5 kilometres long, 1.5 kilometres wide and more than 600 metres deep, the depth of the Fimiston Open Pit could hold the equivalent of 220,000 Olympic sized swimming pools. This awesome site, together with the historical legacy of the area, draws thousands of tourists to the Goldfields each year.
On the 12th February 2021 for the first time KCGM and the famous Golden Mile is owned by one, Australian company, Northern Star Resources Limited.
Conscious of the popularity of the Super Pit as an attraction, Northern Star Resources KCGM has made this accessible to the public with a public Lookout and tours of site. The opportunity to view a working mine site in action and the chance of watching a blast, keep the Northern Star KCGM Super Pit Lookout firmly on the local must do list.
The first Super Pit Lookout was a fenced area with a small viewing platform constructed 100m south of the original Hainault Tourist Mine, near the Boulder Block. Over the years the Lookout has been moved to accommodate the changing pit and is now at the top of Outram Street in Boulder (off the Goldfields Highway, 6.4km south of Hannan Street).
The Super Pit Lookout is open 7am to 7pm daily. For information on blasting times, visit their website.
For more information about tours of Northern Star Resources KCGM’s Fimiston Operations, visit their website.
Hannans North Tourist Mine
The history of the mineshaft at Hannans North and its evolution into a tourist mine began in the early days of Kalgoorlie’s gold rush and continues today.
The Hannans North Tourist Mine site is historically important as it was one of the first mines in the Kalgoorlie area. DL Doolette first made the application for the lease at Hannans North in November 1893. Gold was extracted from this site using the original shaft between 1934 and 1952. The Great Boulder Propriety Gold Mine Ltd held the lease until 1934. In 1935 the Broken Hill Propriety Company Ltd acquired the lease and worked the mine from 1935 to 1952. From 1952 to 1991 the mine was worked on an occasional basis by tributors; groups of independent miners who are granted permission to work company owned mines, with payment based on the value of the ore extracted. In 1991 KCGM acquired the lease for the purpose of opening the site to visitors.
The Hannans North shaft is 395 metres or 1300 feet deep, and comprises 13 levels, with a single seam of gold bearing quartz. Originally, the old miners found alluvial gold. This prompted them to dig down a couple of feet until they hit the seam of quartz. Initially, it was thought the seam only went down to 36.6 metres (120 feet), and a shaft was installed to this depth. However, as the miners continued to dig, they discovered the seam was deeper than first thought, prompting extension of the shaft to its current depth.
The Hainault Gold Mine which was originally a working mine in the Super Pit closed in 1968 but was reopened as a tourist mine in 1973. As the Superpit expanded, it was forced to closed and all the equipment was moved to Hannans North Tourist Mine. For nearly twenty years, in one of the most successful mines on the Eastern Goldfields, retired Kalgoorlie miners conducted underground tours and rock drilling demonstrations to over 750,000 visitors.
In recognition of the importance of showcasing mining to people visiting the area, the leaseholders, Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) decided to establish a new visitor attraction in the Eastern Goldfields region. In the quest to find a new site, five shafts were examined. A down-hole camera was used to probe the tunnels and workings of the shafts. Of the five shafts examined, Hannans North was in the best condition, taking into consideration that it had been dormant for many years. Given its short distance from Kalgoorlie-Boulder and its historical importance, Hannans North was chosen as the site for the new facility. Displays from various mines across the Golden Mile, historical equipment and records relating to the area’s mining activities were collected and assembled at the new site, which is now known as Hannans North Tourist Mine
Hannans North Tourist Mine was owned and operated from 1991 until 2011 by the Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame (MHoF). In 2012, the site was placed into care & maintenance. In early 2013, the site was reopened to visitors for everyone to enjoy once again.
Owned and operated for the community by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd- a 100% owned subsidiary of Northern Star Resources Ltd
If you would like more information on Northern Star KCGM operations, please visit here