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Highway Reward Mine History (17 October 2014)

contributed by DennisF
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Highway - Reward Mine Aerial view of Highway Reward Pit looking south.

The original Highway Goldmine was discovered in 1953 when a sample of barite was identified from the outcrop. Subsequent exploration by Mount Isa Mines in 1954, Noranda Exploration in 1964 and Aberfoyle Exploration in 1983 led to a small gold resource being defined. In 1986 North Queensland Resources (NQR) drilled the deposit and defined a geological resource of 171,000 t at 4.4 g/t Au and 5.8 g/t Ag.

In 1988 NQR dug a small, relatively deep, steep sided, open cut and partially mined this gold resource.

Highway - Reward Mine Aerial view of Highway Reward Pit looking northwest.

Drilling under this open cut in 1990 led to the discovery of the Highway Pipe. It was a discordant pyrite/chalcopyrite body within masses of rhyolite , rhyodacite and dacite of the Mt Windsor Volcanic Province. The neighboring Reward pipe, a similarly discordant pyrite/chalcopyrite pipe, was discovered earlier in 1987. These pipes were surrounded by a halo of lead, zinc and barite-rich mineralisation.

In 1991 Aberfoyle had acquired 65% of the project whose share was in turn bought by RGC Thalanga in about 1992. A 35% share owned by Barrack Mines Ltd Holdings was acquired by Grange Resources who stayed with the project until after mining ceased in 2005.

Mining of the open cut Highway Reward Mine started by Renison Goldfields Consolidated (RGC) in 1999 and was completed as an undergound mine by Thalanga Copper Mines, a solely owned subsidiary of Sterlite Industries (India) Pty Ltd, in 2005. Records indicate a total of 3.8Mt of ore was mined at a grade of 6.2% Cu, 1.0 g/t Au. The concentrates were produced at Pancontinental Mining's, later Sterlite's mill at Thalanga, some 100 kms distant.

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