|Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):||31° 14' 21'' South , 119° 19' 46'' East|
|Latitude & Longitude (decimal):||-31.23920,119.32957|
|Köppen climate type:||BSk : Cold semi-arid (steppe) climate|
This abandoned gold mine is 1 kilometre south-west of the Southern Cross township. Gold was discovered around Southern Cross before other areas further east like Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. Most of the deposits (including Fraser's) were large, relatively low grade affairs with little alluvial or bonanza style gold. As such the town did not see the 'wild west' style gold rushes which occurred further to the east. Intially Fraser's was three mines; Central, Fraser's, and Fraser's South. In 1988 these were combined into one large open pit. Fraser's South started around 1886 and Fraser's 1888. Frasers was discovered by Hugh Fraser. The underground mines produced an estimated 850,000t of ore averaging 11.5g/t Au to 1980; the open cut produced about 2.2mt @ 3.2g/t, total ling over 3Mt @ 5.5g/t by 1992.
The mine is located in the Southern Cross Greenstone Belt, Yilgarn block, of mafic-ultramafic volcanics and volcaniclastics metamorphosed to amphibolites, with some banded iron formations (BIF). The sequence was intruded by syntectonic granitoids and late stage pegmatite dykes, locally cutting the lodes.
The gold ore is found in both quartz rich (Sholls, Frasers) and sulphide rich (Greenstone) lodes. The sulphide lodes represent BIFs with magnetite almost totally altered to pyrrhotite. Scheelite is mostly relatively minor in one source, but is mentioned by Gibb-Maitland in 1919 stating scheelite is often associated with the ore where gold is richest. Several pounds weight of scheelite he says was extracted.
The quartz lodes are developed in tremolite-hornblende-biotite schist with diopside, anthophyllite or cummingtonite and plagioclase on the edges of veins and minor carbonates.
Gold is found in sulphides lodes with pyrrhotite and sometimes pyrite, galena, and sphalerite. This is hosted by brown foliated schist with bands of altenating brown-bronze biotite, quartz, plagioclase and carbonate, with mostly finely disseminated gold associated with the sulphides, largely in quartz bands. Some coarse gold is found, typically in scheelite rich zones.
Apart from the main Frasers lode, there is Scholl's lode to the east, similar to Fraser's lode, and Hogg's (Greenstone) lode to the west which is ferruginous. Both run parallel to Fraser's lode. H.P. Woodward (Assistant Government Geologist) reported on the mine in 1909.
The early history of the mine was a bit of a soap opera. Being the first large scale gold mine in the Eastern Goldfields region, and really the colony, it was the subject of close scrutiny. The colony's reputation for further mining investment depended on it.
Fraser's Gold Mining Company was floated in 1889, with half the shares being given to Hugh Fraser and the other half as various fully paid shareholders. Matters quickly came unstuck with letters to the editor by disgruntled shareholders, and scathing editorials in the local press. More capital was needed than anticipated , but Hugh Fraser refused the request, and as he owned half the shares nothing could be done. He was eventually persuaded to release some funds but only with the mine as security and himself on the board of directors. His efforts to protect his 'investment' (he was given the shares) were ultimately unsuccessful, as he died penniless.
They appointed the manager of the Fraser's South Mine, William Oats, to also oversee the Fraser Mine. This also ended in tears. In October 1891 he sent a letter to the papers after his dismissal from Fraser's going into great detail the improvements he made to the mine. He also states when he arrived at the mine: ' the only ground opened up was a senseless drive by the prospector (Hugh Fraser) at the 32ft level for about 60ft in length in which there was not a piece of timber for safety of life or limb. The boiler had collapsed twice, the mine in debt, shareholders unwilling to pay more calls (raise capital), resulted in an almost cessation of work for six months'. His opinion of now director Hugh Fraser was poor, describing him as having no knowledge of mining and a nincompoop.
In 1900 a director stated the mine should be sold as the company had run at a loss for two years. They requested the workforce take a 7% pay-cut but they refused. The company continually complained about the workers requesting wage rises, and undesirables trying to take control of the mine through fortfeiture. This occurs if a mine remains unworked and another party requests the lease through the Warden's Court. One of these court cases for the Fraser's Mine came to a decision there was no difference between a mine worked by tributors or a waged labour force, and set the standard for this in Western Australia.
The mine was sold to the British and Foreign Development Syndicate (actually a Western Australian concern) with gradual payments over 24 months. Only six months into this process they had a change of heart when large amount of capital was requested to keep the mine going. However, it was too late as the contract had been signed.
The British and Foreign Development Syndicate went into receivership and the mine/plant was sold in 1912 to the Western Australian Machinery Corporation. The townsfolk of Southern Cross stepped in, and through government aid, formed the Yilgarn Diamond Drilling Company, to explore the mine at depth. Good gold grades were found at depth, but to little avail as the mine shortly after ceased operations.
In 1919, W. Tasker from the Mary Mac Mine at Laverton looked at purchasing the leases but nothing came of it. Nothing was found from this time to the 1950's when the references stop. A large open pit was developed from about 1988-1992, but more recent information is needed. In 2013 the mine was owned by St Barbara Limited, but was inactive. In January 2013 they announced they were selling their Southern Cross mines to Chinese Hanking Mining.
Commodity ListThis is a list of exploitable or exploited mineral commodities recorded at this locality.
19 valid minerals.
Rock Types Recorded
Select Rock List TypeAlphabetical List Tree Diagram
Entries shown in red are rocks recorded for this region.
This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.
Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on Macrostrat.org
2500 - 4000 Ma
Age: Archean (2500 - 4000 Ma)
Comments: meta-igneous mafic; synthesis of multiple published descriptions
Lithology: Meta-igneous mafic
Reference: Raymond, O.L., Liu, S., Gallagher, R., Zhang, W., Highet, L.M. Surface Geology of Australia 1:1 million scale dataset 2012 edition. Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia). 
|Neoarchean - Mesoarchean|
2500 - 3200 Ma
|Archean crystalline metamorphic rocks|
Age: Archean (2500 - 3200 Ma)
Comments: Yilgarn Craton
Reference: Chorlton, L.B. Generalized geology of the world: bedrock domains and major faults in GIS format: a small-scale world geology map with an extended geological attribute database. doi: 10.4095/223767. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 5529.