Cadia, the big picture

By any measurement the Cadia Valley mines of Newcrest Mining Limited are an amazing operation and represent a remarkable human achievement. They come at the end of a long history of mining and exploration at the site dating back to the discovery of copper there in 1849. Today's mine absolutely dwarfs anything that has gone before. In the open pit huge face shovels load 240 tons of ore into huge trucks in only two minutes, a weight equivalent to four fully loaded B-double semitrailers, truck and all. In a day they move 130,000 tons or the equivalent of 2,600 “B-doubles”. And that is just the open pit, not the Ridgeway underground operation. After much processing the end result is an output of about 500,000 ounces of gold valued at $1250 an ounce i.e. $625 million/year or $1.75 million a day. In addition, about 50,000 tons of copper is produced per year.

To flush out a myriad of interesting historical stories and explain the intricate and interesting details of the current enterprise, Orange and District Historical Society, in conjunction with Cadia Valley Operations, will be hosting a one-day seminar to be held at the Lucknow Community Hall on Sunday, October 31.

The seminar will feature expert speakers on the mining and social history, geology, current operations and the environmental implications of this massive site. The society is privileged to have Professor Warren Somerville to deliver the opening address. An avid collector of minerals and fossils from an early age, Professor Somerville will bring a wealth of knowledge on mineral deposits and other topics as they relate to Cadia.

John Holliday, of Newcrest Mining, a popular speaker at the society's last Lucknow mining day, will talk about the exploration of the site in the latter part of the 20th century, which led eventually to the go-ahead of the current mining enterprise.

Newcrest's mineral resources manager, Geoffrey Smart, will explain the detailed geology of the Cadia deposits and future prospects for mining there.
Newcrest's Jenny Sharp, a financial analyst, will speak about the financial side of the current operations, while other speakers will talk about current mining methods, equipment and processing.

Director of the Western Research Institute, Tom Murphy, will talk about the huge impact of current mining operations on the local economy, and there will also be a speaker on the environmental impact of mining operations at Cadia as well as restoration work on the site.

The day will start at 9.30am with light refreshments for a 10am start. It will include morning and afternoon teas and lunch. Cost for the day will be $30. Tickets can be obtained from Collins Books (previously Book City) at 230 Summer Street, Orange. The event is expected to attract many interested people, and there is limited seating, those who would like to attend should not delay in booking their places.For more information contact Phil Stevenson on 0402 412 188.

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