Inside Australia’s deepest gold mine — how deep can history go at Gwalia? – by Jarrod Lucas (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – April 21, 2019)

A truck driver working at the bottom of Australia’s deepest gold mine gets loaded up with about 55 tonnes of precious cargo — hard rock blasted from the Earth and containing small specks of the yellow metal.

For every tonne trucks cart to the surface there might be only seven grams of gold, the equivalent of about one teaspoon. Driving at the speed limit of 30 kilometres an hour, it takes drivers just under two hours to make their way to the surface to dump their load and head back down.

This is Gwalia in Western Australia’s remote northern Goldfields. Today, it is the deepest trucking mine in the world and can trace its history back to the 1890s when former US president Herbert Hoover was mine manager.

The mine’s rich yet bloody history includes the deaths of 83 miners between 1898 and 1995 when 24-year-old diamond driller Graham Martin died on the job. Since its discovery in 1896, Gwalia has produced more than 5.5 million ounces — worth about $10 billion at today’s gold price — to make it one of the richest gold mines in Australia’s history.

The mine’s name can be traced back to its Welsh heritage with former owners, Sons of Gwalia, translating to Sons of Wales. Sons of Gwalia is now known for one of the biggest corporate collapses in Australian history, with its 2004 demise marked by debts of more than $800 million.

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