» The Alluvial Gold Report Qld
  § Summary
  § Introduction
  § History of alluvial gold mining
  § Geological aspects of Queensland's placer gold
  § Recent deposition of placer gold
  § Cape York Peninsula region
  § Georgetown region
  § Mount Isa Cloncurry region
  § Central Queensland region
  § Southern Queensland region
  § Deep lead gold deposits
  § Clermont region
  § Ukalunda area
  § Wenlock area
  § Palmer region
  § Russell River area
  § Charters Towers region
  § Rockhampton region
  § Cloncurry region
  § Alluvial gold production
  § Alluvial mining techniques
  § Sluicing (wet processing)
  § Dry blowing (air processing)
  § Discussion
  § Conclusions
  § Acknowledgments
  § References



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HISTORY OF ALLUVIAL GOLD MINING

Alluvial gold mining in Queensland began soon after the first discovery of gold near Port Curtis by Stutchbury, the Government Geologist of New South Wales, in about December 1853 (Bartley, 1887). Other discoveries were made in August 1856 near Warwick but the first gold rush in the State was at Canoona in 1858 where approximately 1240kg (40,000oz) were produced to 1860. The production of gold from many of the newly discovered fields have never been reported since these were made before warden's reports were published. Alluvial gold discovered at Clermont in 1861 caused another significant rush in the region (Lees, 1899).

The most significant gold rush was with the discovery of gold on the Palmer River in 1873. This relatively large goldfield produced a quantity of gold estimated by Denmead (1932) to the end of 1927 to be 41,230kg (1,329,640 oz) of which 3196kg (103,140oz) was gold derived from reefs. Details of the production of alluvial gold have been compiled by Burrows (1991). During the relatively short rush, from 1874 to 1877, the large population was estimated to vary between 26,000 and 50,000 in this very remote part of Queensland. A comprehensive history of the Palmer Goldfield is described by Holthouse (1967).

A review of historical alluvial gold mining to about 1931 has been completed by Denmead (1932) who estimated that 74,400kg (2,404,237 fine oz) of alluvial gold had been produced up to 1927. Since then, very few have reported on alluvial gold mining activities in the State. Another period of alluvial gold production from 1932 to 1973 was 2530kg (81,352 fine oz) derived mostly from buried leads in the Clermont and Wenlock Field. This relatively lower period of production resulted from the effects of the war years and the post-war problems of re-establishing the industry

Renewed interests in alluvial gold mining occurred during a period which coincided with the low price of alluvial tin and the increasing high gold price during the late 1980s. Many alluvial tin mining operators soon converted their plant and equipment to treat alluvial wash for gold. Large capital investment from companies encouraged large scale mining operations and prospects with lower grades were treated profitably

The new investment mainly included using new technologies and larger earth moving equipment. Production of alluvial gold steadily increased to a peak of 1423.4kg for the fiscal 1988/89 period and decreased to a low of 209.1 kg for 1993/94. The peak production corresponded approximately with the peak average price of gold of US$446.53 for 1987.

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July 1996, Queensland Government Mining Journal

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