Where and How to Find Gold - Gold Nugget Detecting - Natural Gold Nuggets for Sale - Gold Panning and Prospecting Tips

Gold Mining in the Tanami Desert of Northern Territories, Australia

The Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory of Australia has been known to have gold since the 1880s. The exact year and circumstances of the initial discovery may vary in historical accounts, but it is generally attributed to the late 1880s. This discovery led to a period of gold rush and subsequent mining activities in the region.

The gold discoveries in the Tanami Desert attracted prospectors and miners who sought to capitalize on the gold-rich deposits. The extreme remote and challenging nature of the desert environment posed significant obstacles to early mining operations.

Persistent exploration and mining efforts gradually uncovered more gold-bearing areas, leading to the establishment of mining operations such as the Tanami Gold Mine and others in the region.


Discovery and Development of the Tanami Gold Mine


The Tanami Gold Mine was discovered in 1986, following extensive exploration activities in the region. The initial discovery led to the development of underground mining operations, which gradually expanded over the years. It is owned and operated by Newmont Mining Corporation, one of the world’s largest gold mining companies. The mine is situated approximately 540 kilometers northwest of Alice Springs.


Geology and Gold Deposits


The geology of the Tanami Desert is characterized by a complex assemblage of rocks that provide favorable conditions for the formation and concentration of gold deposits.

The Tanami region hosts significant greenstone belts, which are geological formations composed of metavolcanic and metasedimentary rocks. These belts are known to contain gold deposits globally. In the Tanami Desert, the greenstone belts have undergone extensive folding, faulting, and shearing, creating structural complexities known as shear zones.

Shear zones are areas of intense deformation, where rocks have been subjected to extreme pressure and movement. Gold-bearing fluids can circulate along these shear zones, depositing gold-rich mineralization. The gold deposits in the area are primarily found within quartz veins associated with shearing and folding of rocks. These veins form when hot fluids rich in silica and other minerals are forced into fractures and cracks in the rocks.

The Tanami Desert is extremely remote and receives few visitors.


Mining Methods Used


Both open-pit and underground mining methods allow Newmont to access multiple rich deposits at the Tanami Gold Mine. Open-pit mining involves the extraction of near-surface gold deposits using large-scale equipment, while underground mining involves accessing deeper deposits through underground tunnels and stoping methods.

The deepest tunneling at the mine now exceeds 1000 meters. With the mine currently still in operation, miners may continue to blast and tunnel deeper in the coming years.


Production and Processing On-Site


The Tanami Mine has been a consistent producer of gold since it first came into production. It has contributed significantly to Australia’s gold production. Once the ore is extracted from the mine, it is transported to the processing plant. At the processing plant, the ore undergoes various crushing, grinding, and leaching processes to extract the gold. This typically involves crushing the ore into smaller fragments, grinding it into a fine powder, and then subjecting it to chemical processes to separate the gold from other minerals.

An aerial view of the Tanami Mine.


Economic Impact to the Region


The Tanami Gold Mine has had a positive impact on the local economy and employment opportunities in the region. The mine (directly and indirectly) has approximately 1200 employees. Due to the extreme remoteness of the mine, they work on a fly-in and fly-out basis throughout the year.

This mine provided jobs for both local communities and workers from other regions, contributing to the economic development of the Northern Territory.


Other Mines in the Tanami Desert


Apart from the Tanami Gold Mine, there are other mines and exploration projects in the Tanami Desert region of Australia. While the Tanami Gold Mine is the most prominent and well-known mine in the area, there are other significant mineral deposits and mining operations in the region. Here are a few examples:

  • Callie Underground Mine: Located in the Tanami Desert region, the Callie Underground Mine is also operated by Newmont Mining Corporation. The Callie Underground Mine is primarily a gold mining operation.
  • Dead Bullock Soak: Dead Bullock Soak is an exploration project situated in the Tanami Desert region. It is focused on gold exploration and potential future mining activities. The project is owned and operated by Newcrest Mining Limited, another gold mining company in Australia.
  • The Granites Gold Mine: The Granites Gold Mine is situated in the Tanami Desert region northwest of Alice Springs. It is an open-pit and underground gold mining operation owned by Newmont Mining Corporation. The Granites Gold Mine has been in operation since 1990 and has contributed significantly to the gold production in the Tanami Desert.
  • Other Exploration Projects: In addition to the established mines mentioned above, there are ongoing exploration projects in the Tanami Desert region, conducted by various mining companies. These exploration activities aim to identify and assess potential mineral deposits, including gold, and determine their economic viability for future mining operations. Gold deposits are still being discovered in this region and there is good potential for future development.
  • The 953 Ounce Gold Nugget found in Victoria | Epic Historical Find

    The Gympie Gold Rush to Queensland

    More about Gold Mining in the Northern Territory

    Follow, like & share:

    Raregoldnuggets.com participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This websites also uses 'cookies' to give you the most relevant experience while browsing. They are stored locally on your computer or mobile device. By using this site you consent to the use of these cookies by various third-party partners such as Google and other advertisers. Frontier Theme