EXCITING NEW MINERAL DISCOVERED AT THE SUPER PIT

Kalgoorlie, Western Australia – Australia’s largest mining town and home to the historic Super Pit gold mine – now has a mineral named in its honour.

Kalgoorlieite, as the mineral has officially been named, was discovered by geochemist Dr Kirsten Rempel from Curtin University’s department of applied geology in January 2015 as she was examining historical ore samples unearthed in the town’s Super Pit gold mine.

The samples Dr Rempel had been studying had sat in the Mine’s museum for years and was simply described as “gold ore showing tellurides”. The collector and date of collection is unknown.

The official name of the new mineral ‘Kalgoorlieite’ has only just been formally released following a year-long verification and classification process by the London-based International Mineralogical Association (IMA).

“I’ve decided to name it kalgoorlieite, after the type locality – it’s about time Kalgoorlie had its own mineral!” Dr Rempel said.

THE KEY TO SOLVING THE GOLDEN MILE DEBATE

Dr Rempel explained that although Kalgoorlieite can be seen only in very small grains so far, the discovery would shed new light on the origin of high grade ore deposits in the area.

“This mineral can provide important information about the genesis of the giant Golden Mile gold deposit, which is widely contested,” Dr Rempel said.

The Golden Mile refers to the area located on the eastern edge of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, now covered by the Kalgoorlie Super Pit, which is one of the largest mesozonal gold deposits in the world, containing an estimated 1,457 tonnes of gold, first discovered in 1893.

Geologists have long debated how such a large deposit was formed.

New mineral Kalgoorlieite on a slide. ABC Rural: Lucinda Jose

Image Source: New mineral Kalgoorlieite on a slide.
ABC Rural: Lucinda Jose

A TRULY UNIQUE DISCOVERY

Dr Rempel said that the IMA receives over 100 new mineral proposals each year – with most of these new discoveries being very complex – displaying only minor differences to existing officially classified minerals.

“It’s rare to find a mineral with the simplicity of kalgoorlieite these days. It’s not something that never happens but I don’t know of many people who have found something new for the first time. I’m happy to be part of it.”

The mineral would be added to the global list of 5107 known minerals and would eventually go on display in the WA Museum.

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