- I'm Visiting
- Getting Here
- Local Business
- Our History
- Things to See & Do
- Visitor Tips
- Health & Safety
- I Live Here
- Getting Started
- Local Business
- Parents & Kids
- Your Region
- Working in Kalgoorlie
- On Business
- Conference Facilities
- Corporate Visitor Information
- Working Here
- Corporate Events
You are here
Western Australia's Gold Industry
Western Australia's development is paved with gold. The rushes of 1880s and 1890s transformed WA from a struggling backwater into a thriving State. The influx of diggers who joined the gold rush increased Western Australia's population from 46,000 in 1890 to 180,000 in 1900.
Today, Western Australia is experiencing another gold boom. Modern mining and processing techniques have seen output jump from about 15 tonnes in 1980 to 180 tonnes in 1992 (an increase of 1200%). The previous record was 60 tonnes in the early 1900s.
Australia - the world’s third biggest gold producer - relies on WA for more than 70% of the nation’s gold. In 1992, the gold industry, which employed 10,000 people, was worth $2.7billion.
The formation of gold deposits
Most of the gold deposits in Western Australia were formed during the Archaen age more than 2,500 million years ago. Notable exceptions are the Telfer deposits formed 1000 million years ago during the Proterozoic age.
Under the influence of changing temperatures and pressures the precipitate gold is concentrated in rock fractures.
Some deposits have subsequently been discovered in the form of alluvial nuggets, free gold in quartz veins or alloys, combined with silver, copper, platinum and tellurium.
Most gold mined today is so fine that it cannot be seen with the naked eye. The presence of gold particles can only be identified by chemical testing.
Where is the gold produced?
The States most significant goldfields have been developed in the Kalgoorlie, Murchison, Pilbara and Boddington areas. In 1992, there were 45 major mining companies in Western Australia. The ore is mined and smelted to more than 75% gold and often over 90% at or near each site.