- Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company
Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company was a Tasmanian mining company formed on the 29 March 1893, most commonly referred to as Mount Lyell. Mount Lyell was the dominant copper mining company of the West Coast from 1893 to 1994, and was based in Queenstown, Tasmania.
Following consolidation of leases and company assets at the beginning of the twentieth century, Mount Lyell was the major company for the communities of Queenstown, Strahan and Gormanston It remained dominant until its closure in 1994.
The Mount Lyell mining operations produced more than a million tonnes of copper, 750 tonnes of silver and 45 tonnes of gold since mining commenced in the early 1890s - which is equivalent to over 4 billion dollars worth of metal in 1995 terms.
In the early stage of operations, Mount Lyell was surrounded by smaller competing leases and companies. Eventually they were all absorbed into Mount Lyell operations, or were closed down. In 1903 the North Mount Lyell company was taken over, and in 1912 the most severe calamity to visit the Mount Lyell company was the 1912 North Mount Lyell Disaster, also known at the time as the North Lyell fire.
During its history, Mount Lyell had exploration leases surrounding its main mining area, and had at one time or other explored most of the West Coast Range revisiting many of the smaller mines that had been worked on in the early 1900s. As a consequence the Mount Lyell company had utilised considerable resources on maintaining leases over areas of promising geology - as well as checking older mining locations on the west coast. At various stages it also shared costs and resources with other companies who would assist by investing in exploration by becoming partners in some leases.
The operations were conducted in various parts of the Mount Lyell Lease, and in the mid 1970s, prior to reduction in the workforce, "Cape Horn" was located just west of the "Comstock" operation which was on the north side of Mount Lyell, while most of the North Mount Lyell workings were finished, "12 West" was still in operation due to its rich copper ores. "West Lyell open cut" which had been dominant in the 1950s was finished, and various parts of the lease were disappearing into the opening above the "Prince Lyell" workings.
Following the first large layoffs in the mid 1970s, the town of Queenstown lost its dominance on the west coast by the mid 1990s, and being mainly a company town many services closed by the 2000s, and the separate west Tasmanian local government authorities were amalgamated into the West Coast Council.
On the 29th March 1993 the company celebrated its centenary. At that stage it was known as the Copper Division of Renison Goldfields Consolidated Limited. The Mount Lyell Mining Field, and the various activities of the company in Queenstown and the west coast of Tasmania were celebrated throughout the community.
The Mount Lyell Remediation and Research and Demonstration Program was conducted between 1994 and 1996 following the closing of the company, to reverse the ecological change upon the Queen and King Rivers, and Macquarie Harbour; caused by the release of mine waste and effluent into the rivers. It is estimated that 100 million tonnes of tailings were disposed of into the Queen River.
The Mount Lyell lease and mine was reopened by Copper Mines of Tasmania in 1995. This company in turn was acquired by Sterlite Industries an Indian based company in 1999. As a consequence it is part of the Vedanta group of companies. Its concentrate material is shipped to India for processing. Government guidelines saw tailings dams created and special measures taken prevent any further pollution of the rivers and harbour.
The following locations were within the operating mine lease and indicate a separate orebody - the operating life is also indicated : -
- Iron Blow 1883 - 1929
- North Lyell 1896 - 1972
- Royal Tharsis 1902 - 1991
- Lyell Comstock 1913 - 1959
- Crown Lyell 1931 - 1985
- West Lyell Open Cut 1934 - 1978
- Cape Horn 1969 - 1987
- Prince Lyell Mine 1969 -
- see West Coast Wilderness Railway for more details
Mount Lyell was also the operator of the Queenstown to Regatta Point railway from 1893 to 1963, which used the Abt rack system of cog railway for steep sections. This railway was rebuilt and recommenced operation in 2002 as the Abt Wilderness Railway, and is now known as the West Coast Wilderness Railway operated by Federal Hotels.
The company has been significant in Australian business history works as Geoffrey Blainey, the Australian historian, began his career with the writing of the company history The Peaks of Lyell, which has now progressed to its sixth edition.
Also, due to circumstances at the winding up of Mount Lyell significant amounts of company records were deposited with Tasmanian state archives.
- ^ The Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company Limited (1994) A Century of Copper Queenstown, Tasmania page 2, see also later editions of The Peaks of Lyell
- ^ The Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company Limited (1994) A Century of Copper Queenstown, Tasmania page 6,
- ^ Tasmania. Dept. of Mines & Petterd, W. F. (William Frederick). Catalogue of mineral of Tasmania & Geological Survey of Tasmania (1970). In Catalogue of the minerals of Tasmania. Hobart - identifies the separate Tharsis workings - West Tharsis, Tharsis
- Atkinson, H.K. (1991). Railway Tickets of Tasmania. ISBN 0-9598718-7-X.
- Blainey, Geoffrey (2000). The Peaks of Lyell (6th ed. ed.). Hobart: St. David's Park Publishing. ISBN 0-7246-2265-9.
- Bradshaw, Noeline. The North Lyell Mining Disaster. Queenstown: Galley Museum Volunteer Committee. (Available at Galley Museum)
- Crawford, Patsy (2004). God Bless Little Sister. Margate: Red Hill Books. ISBN 0-9752152-0-5.
- McQuade, C.V. Johnston, J.F. and Innes, S.M Review of historical literature and data on the sources and quality of effluent from the Mount Lyell lease site Mount Lyell Remediation Research and Demonstration Program. Supervising Scientist Report 104, Supervising Scientist, Canberra. ISBN 0-642-24303-4
- Rae, Lou (2001). The Abt Railway and Railways of the Lyell region. Sandy Bay: Lou Rae. ISBN 0-9592098-7-5.
- Whitham, Charles (2003). Western Tasmania - A land of riches and beauty (Reprint 2003 ed.). Queenstown: Municipality of Queenstown.
- 2003 edition - Queenstown: Municipality of Queenstown.
- 1949 edition - Hobart: Davies Brothers. OCLC 48825404; ASIN B000FMPZ80
- 1924 edition - Queenstown: Mount Lyell Tourist Association. OCLC 35070001; ASIN B0008BM4XC
Mining companies of AustraliaAdelaide Brighton Cement · Allegiance Mining · Alumina · Aquarius Platinum · BHP Billiton · Bougainville Copper · Compass Resources · Copper Mines of Tasmania · Energy Resources of Australia · Fortescue Metals Group · GRD · Hancock Prospecting · Iluka Resources · International Ferro Metals · Laguna Resources · Macarthur Coal · Macmahon Holdings · Magellan Metals · Marathon Resources · Marston · Minara Resources · Mineralogy · Minerals and Metals Group · Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company · New Hope Coal · Newcrest Mining · OZ Minerals · Orocobre · Paladin Energy · Pilbara Iron · Rio Tinto Aluminium · Rio Tinto Group · Tiwest Joint Venture
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Mount Lyell Remediation and Research and Demonstration Program — The Mount Lyell Remediation and Research and Demonstration Program was a joint program between the Supervising Scientist Australia and the Department of Environment and Land Management, Tasmania to clean up the King River, Queen River and… … Wikipedia
Mount Lyell (Tasmania) — Mount Lyell Western end of Mount Lyell from the Lake Margaret road Elevation 917 m (3,009 ft) … Wikipedia
Mount Lyell — can refer to: Mount Lyell (California), the highest point in Yosemite National Park in California, United States. Mount Lyell (Tasmania), a peak in Tasmania, Australia. Mount Lyell (WA), a peak in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Mount… … Wikipedia
1912 North Mount Lyell Disaster — The 1912 North Mount Lyell Disaster (also known as the Mount Lyell Disaster and North Mount Lyell Fire) refers to a fire that broke out on 12 October 1912 at the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company operations on the West Coast of Tasmania. The … Wikipedia
North Mount Lyell Railway — The North Mount Lyell Railway was built to service the North Mount Lyell mine in West Coast Tasmania at the start of the Twentieth century to take ore from Gormanston east of the West Coast Range to the Crotty smelters, and then on to Pillinger… … Wikipedia
North Mount Lyell — was the name of a mine, mining company, locality (sometimes as North Lyell) and former railway near Gormanston on the West Coast of Tasmania. It was absorbed into the workings of the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company following the failure of … Wikipedia
Lyell Highway — Infobox Australian Road road name = Lyell Highway type = state highway route route route photo = West Coast Road descending to Queenstown.jpg caption = Lyell Highway descending towards Queenstown length = 248 direction = South/Southeast… … Wikipedia
Mount Dundas — Zeehan Railway (Also known as the Maestris Tram) The Dundas to Zeehan railway line was a seven mile (11 km) long railway line on the West Coast of Tasmania. Contents 1 Operation 2 Stopping Places 3 See also 4 … Wikipedia
Mount Dundas- Zeehan Railway — Mount Dundas Zeehan Railway(Also known as the Maestris Tram)The Dundas to Zeehan railway line was a seven mile (11 km) long railway line on the West Coast of Tasmania. Operation It was built by the Mount Dundas and Zeehan Railway Company and… … Wikipedia
Mining in Australia — Super Pit gold mine at Kalgoorlie in Western Australia is Australia s largest open pit mine Mining in Australia is a significant primary industry and contributor to the Australian economy. Historically, mining booms have also encouraged… … Wikipedia