Re-development of the Big Bell Mine, Cue

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1989
The area around Big Bell was actively explored and sporadically mined for gold from 1904 onwards. The lease was named Big Bell in 1913. The property became established as a major mining centre with the development of the Big Bell underground mine in 1936. Mining operations commenced in late 1937 and ceased in January 1955, after milling 5.56 million tonnes of ore and producing nearly 21 tonnes of gold. In 1969 Australian Consolidated Minerals Ltd (A.C.M.) acquired the deposit then explored it alone and in joint venture until the current joint venture agreement with a subsidiary of Placer Pacific Limited (PPL) was negotiated in 1984. Following exploration and evaluation of near surface mineralisation, and a reassessment of the remnant pillars underground, the concept of a large open pit in conjunction with an underground mine evolved. The feasibility study was completed in October 1987, and the decision to go ahead was formally announced on 2nd December 1987. Placer Dome Technical Services Ltd were contracted to be the Project Managers, commencing construction on site early in January 1988 and handing the plant over to the operators 13 months later. The capital cost of the project at handover was estimated to be $133 million. The operating team commenced pre-production stripping of the open pit on 1st May 1988. By 31st January 1989 almost 16.0 million tonnes had been stripped and 350,000 tonnes of ore stockpiled.
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