Fimiston Open Gold Mine

The Fimiston Open Gold Mine

Located on the south-east edge of Western Australia in Kalgoorlie-Boulder is what is known as the Super Pit, the largest open cut gold mine in Australia today.  This pit is so large you can actually view it from the space station. This mine produces some 800,000 plus ounces of gold each year.

Gold is mined from the Super Pit by drill and blast mining. The method of extracting the ore from the material removed from the mine involves crushing it before it is put through a gravity circuit where the free gold is then recovered. An auriferous pyrite concentrate is produced from a floatation procedure of the gold. The tellurides are then heated to release pure gold, which is then poured into bars.

The Filmiston Mine lies in the Norseman-Wiluna belt, Western Australia. The gold concentration in the ore was formed by ancient shears that plunged down into the mine area.  This mine produces some 28 tons of pure gold per year, and employees 500 plus workers.

Fimiston Open Gold Mine

image by Wikimedia Commons

The Goldrush of the 1800’s brought the beginning of the town known as Kalgoorlie. It owes its beginnings to the mining that was started then, and continues to this very day, every day of the year.  The “Super Pit” was born of an idea by a businessman named Alan Bond. Mr. Bond realized that there was a need to combine all the smaller mines and tunnels, into one large pit, which would be much easier and more cost effective to mine.  Bond made a good go of it, buying up many of the smaller leases in what was called the “Golden Mile”, but hi plans to own and operate one large gold mine pit failed eventually for him.

Hi idea would not go to waste, because later in the year 1989 all the mines along the Golden Mile were combined to create the Fimiston Open Pit, or more commonly known as the Super Pit.

Visiting the Super Pit can be done daily from 7 AM to 9 PM from the public lookout. If you are lucky they will be blasting while you are there. The lookout is located in Boulder off the Goldfields Highway, and is well market.

Free tours of the Super Pit are given once a month, only on Boulder Market Days. During the tour, you will be shown the equipment and operations not usually seen by the public. You will also have the great opportunity of viewing the pit from the lookout on the Oroya Bypass Road, which many say is the highlight of this tour.

You can make the trip to the Super Pit on a Mini-Bus Tour daily, leaving from St. Barbara Square, in Kalgoorlie. Plan on about 2.5 hours for this tour.

Date posted: 2nd May, 2013

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