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Thunderbox Gold Mine, Leinster, Leonora Shire, Western Australia, Australia

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Lock Map
Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 28° 11' 37'' South , 121° 0' 17'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -28.19361,121.00472
GeoHash:G#: qdyp9e8bq
Locality type:Mine
Köppen climate type:BWh : Hot deserts climate

A 2 Moz Archaean orogenic gold deposit located 45km south of Leinster. The deposit was blind, overlain by Tertiary sediments and alluvium and was discovered by drilling in 1999. Gold mineralisation is hosted by a strongly deformed, silicified and carbonate-altered albite-quartz porphyry in the immediate hanging wall of a major brittle-ductile shear zone.

The original owners was a joint venture between Lionore and Dalrymple, who merged into one company mid 2003. Production from an open cut mine commenced in November 2002. The company had a good first two years, then struck trouble in 2005. This included lower than expected production, water shortages, equipment failure, and write downs due to the short remaining life of the mine. This resulted in large financial losses. For almost two years Lionore sought a buyer. Eventually Russian nickel miner Norilsk took over the company and mine in June 2007.

The mine was operated until September 2007, when it was placed on care and maintenance by Norilsk Nickel Australia. The open cut produced 10.9Mt at 2.4 g/t Au for a total production of 805,000 oz Au.

Mark Bennett, who discovered the deposit mid 1999, said of the name for the mine: 'We named it Thunderbox as the only toilet facility at the outback exploration site was a 44 gallon drum over the top of an old drill hole. At that point our geologist decided to name every target after curries- we had Madras, Rogan Josh etc- anything that could lead to the toilet'.

The mine is 45 kilometres south of Leinster, and borders the west side of the Goldfields Highway. The mine is presently owned by Saracen who are investigating re-opening the mine (2015).

Commodity List

This is a list of exploitable or exploited mineral commodities recorded at this locality.

Mineral List

20 valid minerals.

Rock Types Recorded

Note: this is a very new system on mindat.org and data is currently VERY limited. Please bear with us while we work towards adding this information!

Select Rock List Type

Alphabetical List Tree Diagram

Regional Geology

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

0 - 2.588 Ma

ID: 697291
colluvium 38491

Age: Pleistocene (0 - 2.588 Ma)

Description: Colluvium and/or residual deposits, sheetwash, talus, scree; boulder, gravel, sand; may include minor alluvial or sand plain deposits, local calcrete and reworked laterite

Comments: regolith; synthesis of multiple published descriptions

Lithology: Regolith

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). [5]

Neoarchean - Mesoarchean
2500 - 3200 Ma

ID: 3189633
Archean sedimentary and volcanic rocks

Age: Archean (2500 - 3200 Ma)

Comments: Yilgarn Craton

Lithology: Greenstone belt; felsic volcanic rocks

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. [154]

Data and map coding provided by Macrostrat.org, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

This page contains all mineral locality references listed on mindat.org. This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in mindat.org without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.


Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Bennett, M.A., Buck, P.S. (2000): Discovery and Geology of the Thunderbox Gold Deposit, Yandal Belt. In Yandal Greenstone Belt, AIG Bulletin (2000): 32: 373-379.
Du Puy, K. (2003): Descriptive Hydrothermal Alteration Model for the Thunderbox Gold Deposit- insights into timing of gold mineralisation relative to deformation and metamorphism. Unpublished Honours thesis, University of Western Australia (2003): 88.
The West Australian newspaper (Perth) (2015), No Toilet Humour for Gold Miner Thunderbox, 03/08/2015

External Links

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