Mine Talk

Kalgoorlie Miner - - FRONT PAGE - Jas­mine Bam­ford

Mu­seum houses cen­tury of min­ing

In a non­de­script civic build­ing in West Kal­go­or­lie sits a ware­house stor­ing kilo­me­tres of drill­core sam­ples that col­lec­tively doc­u­ment a glo­ri­ous Gold­fields cen­tury char­ac­terised by min­eral pros­per­ity.

One of only two of its kind in the State, the fa­cil­ity was built by the Ge­o­log­i­cal Survey of Western Aus­tralia, a di­vi­sion of the Depart­ment of Mines and Pe­tro­leum.

It stands to­day as a tes­ta­ment to the im­por­tance of re­tain­ing drill­core from ex­plo­ration ven­tures to as­sist in the de­vel­op­ment of ge­o­log­i­cal mod­els and ex­plo­ration pro­grams.

The JH Lord Core Li­brary at the cor­ner of Hunter and Broad­wood streets, was named after for­mer GSWA di­rec­tor, the late Joe Lord.

Upon first glance, the sheer scale of the li­brary is hard to fathom, walls lined with sam­ples as far as the eye can see, rods painstak­ingly drawn from great depths.

The fa­cil­ity was de­signed to house 10-15 years of core and built with pro­vi­sion for ex­pan­sion to house a fur­ther 15-30 years worth.

About 10km of chiefly di­a­mond drill­core has been added to the Kal­go­or­lie-Boulder col­lec­tion ev­ery year since the fa­cil­ity opened in 1999.

There are a range of fac­tors de­ter­min­ing which pieces of cylin­dri­cal sam­ple are to be in­cluded in the li­brary for fu­ture ref­er­ence.

Some are archived be­cause they were taken from what were deemed the most sig­nif­i­cant projects, while oth­ers are from ar­eas con­sid­ered in­ac­ces­si­ble or from ex­cep­tion­ally deep holes.

The heavy his­tor­i­cal gold sam­ples have been taken from the Golden Mile, Mount Char- lotte, Sons of Gwalia, Edna May, Bur­banks Main Reef and Three Mile Hill, to name just a few.

The list of nickel de­posit sam­ples in­cludes ini­tial drill holes from the Kam­balda Dome de­posits, Spar­gov­ille, Dig­ger Rocks at For­resta­nia, Windarra and the Widgiemooltha Dome.

As world-class gold and nickel de­posits abound in the Gold­fields, a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of the sam­ples are taken from de­posits of th­ese valu­able com­modi­ties. De­spite the li­brary’s ex­is­tence be­ing rooted in the need to ar­chive a va­ri­ety of min­er­al­i­sa­tion styles, the build­ing also ex­ists as a mon­u­ment to drillers and their art, hail­ing back to the days when de­posits were named after those who forged a di­rect line to the lodes be­low.

Depart­ment of Mines and Pe­tro­leum Min­eral Ti­tles ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Ivor Roberts, a for­mer man­ager of the mu­seum, was only too happy to show off a few sam­ples that tell an im­por­tant tale in the story of Gold­fields ex­plo­ration.

Dr Roberts pointed to an old drill­core sam­ple which ar­rived from the Perth of­fice, dusty and for­got­ten.

He ex­plained the sam­ples were taken to Europe in 1898 to pro­mote WA and, in par­tic­u­lar, the rich of­fer­ings in Cool­gar­die and Kal­go­or­lie.

“It’s ac­tu­ally as a her­itage item, this is the only phys­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the early gold lodes around Kal­go­or­lie,” he said.

“We have the orig­i­nal dis­cov­ery hole for Kam­balda, in (1981) and we had to get it do­nated — the board of Western Min­ing had to ap­prove it.

“That again has his­tor­i­cal value in that it is the hole that started the nickel dis­cov­ery in WA, all from this one drill hole.”

Pic­tures: Jas­mine Bam­ford

Drill­core ready for ware­hous­ing at the JH Lord Core Li­brary.

The equiv­a­lent of 10km of drill­core is stored in West Kal­go­or­lie.

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