Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sapphire mining in Australia

Sapphire has been mined in Australia for over 150 years and Australian mines have produced commercial quantities for at least the last 50 years.

One of the first reports is from 1851 when sapphire was recovered during gold mining on the Cudgegong and Macquarie rivers in New South Wales. In 1854 sapphire was reported from the New England area of New South Wales and in 1875 Sapphire was discovered in Retreat Creek, Central Queensland. Deposits are located in two main areas on the eastern part of the continent: the gem fields at Anakie in Queensland, and the New England district of New South Wales. Sapphires are found in secondary deposits, which are derived from weathered alkali-basalts.
Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka are widely perceived as major sources of sapphire. Most of the high grade commercial deposits in these countries have been largely depleted.

Australian sapphire mining saw hard times until the advent of machinery mining and the arrival of Thai buyers in the mid 1970's