About: Northparkes is a copper and gold mine located 27 kilometres north west of Parkes, developed on the basis of open cut and pioneering block cave mining techniques, producing high grade copper/gold concentrate for smelting overseas. It represents a complete picture of modern Australian mining practice – including remote operations monitoring. The open cut pit has been phased out of production as its resources are exhausted and the focus is now on block cave extraction. Northparkes Mines owns approximately 6000 hectares of land around the mine, of which the mining lease covers 1630 hectares. The remaining land is actively farmed using best practice farming methods developed and adopted to maximise productivity and quality while conserving water and soils.
Public Access: Northparkes Mine is not accessible to the general public, but is offering a limited number of guided tours each year for pre-booked groups. Bookings can be made through the Parkes Visitor Information Centre. At least 2 weeks notice is required for bookings.
While you’re here: Parkes offers an array of mining related activities and iconic tourist attractions including Bushman’s Hill Reserve (the site of the first gold mine in Parkes), the Henry Parkes Centre featuring 4 unique museums including a mining history display, or why not stop in and visit the well known ‘Dish’, more formally known as the Parkes CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope
Peak Hill Open Cut Experience
About: The Peak Hill Gold Mine operated as an open cut gold mine between 1996 and 2006 owned and operated by Alkane Resources Pty Ltd. Gold ore was mined from the oxide deposit by conventional open pit mining from the main ProprietaryParkers pit and three smaller satellite pits. During this period a total of 153,000oz of gold was recovered.
Located 40km North of Parkes in the heart of Peak Hill, the site is still owned by Alkane, but is now open as a tourist attraction managed by Parkes Shire Council. Now known as the Peak Hill Open Cut Experience, visitors are offered a unique tourism experience with spectacular open cuts, historic mine workings, walking trails, lookouts and a viewing platform. With an elevation of 286m the hill overlooks the magnificent expanse of agricultural land to the west. At sunset, the light turns the open cut into a kaleidoscope of colours and to see the Sun drop below the distant horizon makes for a truly unforgettable memory.
Public Access: Open 7 days (except Christmas Day) for self guided tours between 9am and 4pm – Free entry. Parking on-site. Guided tours available for 10 or more people, bookings essential. $10 Adults, $8 Child/Concession. Contact the Parkes Visitor Information Centre 02 6862 6000.
While you’re here: Visit the Open Cut Gallery at the Peak Hill Visitor Information Centre and stroll the antique and bric-a-brac shops.
Newcrest Mining's Cadia Valley
About: Cadia Valley Operations (CVO) is one of Australia’s largest gold mining operations and is 100 per cent owned by Newcrest Mining. CVO occupies 11,500 hectares of land approximately 25 kilometres from Orange in central west New South Wales and is 250 kilometres west of Sydney. CVO comprises two underground mines, Cadia East and Ridgeway. These are large scale operations using either Block or Panel Caving mining methods. The Cadia Hill Open Pit mine was placed on care and maintenance in June 2012 and further production will be assessed in the future. At CVO, Newcrest produces gold ore from a gravity circuit and gold-rich copper concentrates from a flotation circuit. Gold ore from CVO is refined at the Perth Mint and concentrates are piped to a dewatering plant at nearby Blayney and sent by rail to Port Kembla in New South Wales for export mainly to Eastern Asia.
While you’re here: Ophir, the historical site of Australia’s first gold discovery is only 29 km north east of Orange on a partly unsealed road. It provides basic camping, hiking and picnicking facilities, and little has changed from the first gold rush days. Age of Fishes Museum, Canowindra is home to one of the worlds most spectacular fossil fish discoveries, dating back approximately 400 million years. The Golden Memories Museum in Millthorpe has many areas dedicated to mining, including the Cadia Corner.
Barrick Cowal Gold Mine
About: The West Wyalong Barrick Cowal operation commenced in in 2004 as an open-cut extraction and processing operation. Since inception Barrick has been concerned with monitoring and ameliorating environmental impacts – particularly on flora and fauna, site water and wetland management, erosion, dust and noise. Barrick is also keen to include the local Aboriginal community in a number of issues relating to the mine’s development. The strong links to the Lake Cowal Conservation Centre are a special feature. The Lake Cowal Conservation Centre underlines the difference between a heritage approach and a contemporary view of mining.
While you’re here: The Bland Shire and West Wyalong is on the crossroads of the Newell, Mid Western Highways and Goldfields Way and has many historic and interesting areas to explore including the surrounding villages of Tallimba, Mirrool, Barmedman, Ungarie, Weethalle and Naradhan. Other places to explore in the Bland Shire and West Wyalong include the Barmedman Mineral Pool, the 25 State Forests, Reserves and National Parks, and the tin and eucalyptus oil history. The tours of the West Wyalong Barrick Cowal Mine also coincide with the Saturday flying dates for the Temora Aviation Museum Temora Aviation Museum
About: Cobar (“Copper City”) is a mining town. The Cobar goldfields stretch over ten kilometres and have produced over 3m oz. of gold and 200,000 tonnes of copper since mining started in 1870. Some of the great names of Australian mining – Chesney, Great Cobar, New Occidental, The Peak, Mt Boppy, Elura, Girilambone, Queen Bee and CSA - are associated with the district. Cobar ranks second only to Broken Hill for its continuing significance as a metaliferous centre. Cobar’s landscape and population reflect the booms and busts of mining (the shareholders of the massive Great Cobar unfortunately lost their money but were responsible for the huge infrastructure works which remain today). Mining is the key attraction of Cobar tourism with a number of sites identified and promoted. The promotion and sealing of the Kidman Way has improved access from the south to the wealth of Cobar. The Great Cobar Heritage Centre provides VIC services, houses an excellent local history display and acts as ‘base camp’ for visits to nearby mining features. The Great Cobar Heritage Centre on the eastern entry to town is the key to the Cobar mining experience. It has exhibitions focused on mining operations and supported by New Gold. The centre adjoins the Cobar Miners Heritage Park and is start point for the Cobar Heritage Walk.
Peak Gold Mines (PGM) holds nearly 90,000 ha. of mining leases and exploration licences and operates five mines (The Peak, Perseverance, New Occidental, New Cobar and Chesney) in the district. The Peak Gold Mine operation, is 8 kms. south of Cobar on the Kidman Way and is the only mine accessible to the public. It commenced production in 1992 and is a part of the greater Cobar Gold Field. The Peak mine itself is underground providing mill feed to a central gold/copper processing plant. Like all the mines included in this study, PGM is meticulous in promoting a safe workplace. It also practices progressive reclamation and rehabilitation of land; and has programs directed to waste water management, greenhouse gas emission reduction, and noise abatement.
During the pre-WW1 copper boom in 1906-07 there were nearly 1000 people employed at the Great Cobar Mine; by 1914 it had gone broke for the first time and finally closed in 1919. The Heritage Centre is housed in the former Great Cobar mine manager’s residence (1910) which provides an orientation and entry point for viewing the open cut lake. The New Cobar is some 400 m. long and 150m. deep. It operated between 2000 and 2004. The Fort Bourke lookout provides a dramatic overview of the workings.
Public Access: Three KMS from the Cobar visitor information centre is the Fort Bourke lookout which overlooks the New Cobar Gold Mine Open Cut which is 150 meters deep. The lookout has interpretive boards which explain the mining operation and is open 7days in daylight hours.
While you’re here: Twelve KMS from the Cobar visitor information centre is the Peak Gold Mine Golden Walk. The walk is approximately 300metres and passes old mine workings and mining equipment which is left over from the mining operations in the 1890s. At the end of the walk is a viewing platform that provides a view and some information about the current Peak Gold Mine.The walk is open 7 days in daylight hours