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NewGold '99
New Gold Discoveries & Mines
24-27 November, 1999

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REVIEW ARTICLE - As published in Gold Gazette, 13 Dec 1999

With Great Central Mines Staff at Jundee
AMF NewGold '99 International Study Tour

By Mike Porter

Across the shimmering white expanse of the salt lake, two dark islands floated on a mirage that concealed the horizon and merged imperceptibly into the clear bright sky.

From the direction of the islands an unseen willy willy bore down upon the group. As it crossed onto the lake's shore, it abruptly picked up dust and dry grass, forming a swirling red vortex that spiralled up into the sky.

Once on the low red sand dunes, it wove an erratic path northward, toward the tall yellow mast of a drill rig, tracing the axis of one of the most significant Australian gold discoveries of recent years.

The group standing there on the lake comprised the thirteen geologists of the AMF NewGold '99 International Study Tour, plus six others from Placer Granny Smith and Acacia Resources who worked locally.

They had come to the shores of Lake Carey in the Yilgarn of Western Australia to inspect the Wallaby project of the Placer Dome - Delta Gold JV, concealed here by more than a hundred metres of younger cover.

This was the fourth of the seven gold deposits on the itinerary of the four day tour, the theme of which was "New Gold Discoveries and Mines".

The tour was scheduled to immediately follow the New Generation Gold Mines Conference in Perth and included several of the more significant new gold discoveries covered by that conference. Most of these, like Wallaby, were still only drill grids on an undisturbed surface.

In addition, the itinerary took in several major new mines, some still in the oxide zone, others exploiting primary ore, as well as a few established mature mines in the same districts as the new discoveries and mines.

The tour included a wide variety of styles of mineralisation, distributed over 600 km of the Eastern Gold Fields, extending from south of Kalgoorlie to north of Wiluna. However, it also incorporated a representative concentration of deposits around Laverton to allow an appreciation of the framework of an individual district within the greenstone belt.

At each site there were expert briefings on the regional and local geological setting, structure, mineralisation, exploration, evaluation and grade control, followed by surface and mine inspections as well as the opportunity to study drill core in detail.

The tour group was composed of geologists from a wide variety of companies from both Australia and internationally, including one or two senior representatives each from three of the top four gold producers in the world, from Africa and North America.

The Tour

The tour had commenced with an Introductory Meeting immediately following the post conference drinks of the New Generation Gold Mines conference on the evening of Tuesday 23 November.

The group re-convened at Perth Airport early next morning to catch the 6:30 flight to Kalgoorlie. On arrival they were met by the bus that would stay with them for the next three days. It took them direct to Newcrest Mining Ltd's Mt Marion mine for a carefully planned and executed visit to the Ghost Crab orebody, which although only discovered in 1998, is now being mined from underground. They were given detailed briefings, core inspections and an underground visit.

With a catered lunch on the bus the group returned to Kalgoorlie to study core and drilling plans from AMX Resources Ltd's fascinating granite hosted Golden Cities deposits, before driving to the project site. In the late afternoon they travelled north, stopping for refreshments in Menzies and dinner in Leonora, before arriving late in Laverton.

Over the next two days Placer (Granny Smith) Pty Ltd and Acacia Resources Ltd combined to provide a superb program that took in the Sunrise Dam-Cleo and Sunrise mines, the old Granny Smith pits and Wallaby, covering all aspects of the operations and their settings. This included ample opportunity to study core as well as the open pits.

On the Friday afternoon Metex Resources NL hosted an excellent field briefing, visit and core display covering their Chatterbox Shear Zone project.

Early next morning a chartered Metroliner from Perth rendezvoused with the group at Laverton and flew them north to Great Central Mines Ltd's Jundee-Nimary operation for an immaculate series of presentations, open pit overviews and an underground visit to the Barton Deeps orebody.

In the late afternoon of Saturday 27 November the group took the Metroliner back to Perth to end the tour at just after 5:00 pm, having covered nearly 2000 km in the four days.

The tour was only possible through the generosity and understanding of the companies who allowed access to their mines and projects, and it's success was a testimony to the professionalism of those who work within the Australian gold industry.

The Series Continues

This was the ninth such tour conducted by the AMF over the last three years. In all, these have visited almost 100 of the world's most important ore deposits, in North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australasia.

These tours have been attended by geologists from all continents and from most of the worlds most important mining and exploration companies.

Five future tours are currently in various stages of development. These are:
  • Nickel 2000 that will visit the worlds most important nickel deposits, both laterite and sulphide, as three modules in mid 2000.
  • Africa 2000 taking in the gold mines of east and west Africa in two separate modules during October-November 2000.
  • FeOx 2000 - to the Iron Oxide Copper-Gold and related deposits around Australia in December 2000.
  • Africa-B 2001, visiting the mafic associated mineralisation of southern Africa and base metal orebodies of southern and central Africa as two modules, in mid 2001.
  • Eldorado 2001 in two modules visiting the fabulous New World Gold and Iron Oxide Copper-Gold Deposits of South America in the Andes and the Archaean-Proterozoic shields respectively in late 2001.
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