Sunday, May 29, 2011

Goonumbla NSW

This is how the locals describe Goonumbla:

We're a bumpy road out back
Half bitumen and half dirt track.
There's roos to dodge
and dirt in pot holes to lodge
all before you get to our shack.
Out here there's cropping and mining
For sustainability we are all pining.
There's not a solar system in sight
Energy efficient hot water systems - yeah right.
Green power, green gas - what a silver lining.
Goonumbla was nothing, a dusty speck of poor grazing land on the great plains of Parkes - then copper (and later gold) was discovered. At first the gold was not profitable to mine, too little locked into porphry silicon deposits - not viable - then the price of gold went through the ceiling and suddenly it became viable and profitable.

Goonumbla Gold Mine, Parkes

Look behind this mining structure and see the countryside - long, wide and 'flat as' that stretches seemingly forever.
Northparkes Mines is a copper-gold mine near the remote Australian town of Goonumbla, about 27km north-north-west of Parkes, a regional centre in central-west New South Wales.

Following an initial open-pit operation at Northparkes, underground block-cave mining has been undertaken since 1997.

That's a solid block of gold that this miner is holding.

I only had one day at Goonumbla but it was quite spectacular. There is a thorough security process - everyone going in produces a urine sample and any prescibed medications must be declared up front and verified by your own doctor to the mine owners consulting medical team. You change into supplied workwear in the locker room and your street clothes are taken away in a basket. When its time to leave you go back through the locker room, shower, your work wear is removed and your basket of clothes are waiting for you. There are X-ray screens, like the airports use, at all access points to the mine workings. No cameras are allowed - if consultants like myself need to take images they supply a camera and email me any images that have been approved for release and inclusion in my report.

Parkes is home to the largest radio-telescope in Australia and was the first point of contact for Apollo atronauts with Cape Canaveral as they came out of the 'shadow' on this side of the world.

This is an image of the Radio-telescope I took on a previous trip out west.

Parkes has long been associated with Australia's mineral wealth but is also home to the Goobang National Park

Goobang National Park, one of the state's newest National Parks is located 30 kilometres north-east of Parkes. It is approximately 42,600 hectares in size, 55 kilometres long and ranges in width from 200 metres to 20 kilometres, forming the largest area of remnant vegetation in the Central West of New South Wales.

Parkes was also home to one of Australia's earliest gold Rushes and this very pretty area is well worth a vist by any prospective tourist.

Located just 400 metres from the main street of Peak Hill, Caswell Street - this open cut gold mine provides a great example of mining techniques used historically and today. The historic Peak Hill mine operated between 1893 and 1917 producing about 60,000 ounces from 500,000 tonnes of rock. Alkane re-excavated for gold on the site between 1996 and 2002 retrieving 145,000 ounces gold from 4.9 million tonnes of rock.

While most of the historic operations were consumed by the recent mining activity, some of the old workings have been preserved. The Open Cut Experience includes both the historic works and the more recent mines with several walking paths and viewing platforms having been constructed

1 comment:

John Gray said...

another cracking post! love the names of the places better than welsh ones