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Mining History of Junction Reefs

By October 27, 2009August 6th, 2013No Comments

Orange & District Historical Society is hosting a meeting about the Mining and Social History of Junction Reefs and Burnt Yards on Tuesday 27th October 2009 at 7pm Gladstone Hotel, Orange. Intereste people are most welcome to come along. Little known today, the dam and gorge on the Belubula river at Junction reefs 50 km south of Orange was the scene of sustained mining for over 100 years. Gold was discovered in 1870 By Martin Sheahan where the Mandurama Ponds creek meets the Belubula river. Companies were formed soon after and the Sheahan family remained associated with one of the mines until 1960. There were numerous other companies and the very fine nature of the gold tested all of their ingenuity in its separation from the parent rock.
It was necessary to grind the ore to a very fine state which in turn required a great amount of power. Wood fired steam engines supplied most of this power but some companies made use of the special features of the site namely a good dam site and large drop in the river height to setup hydro and hydro- electric power sources for their crushers and mills. Leaching processes involving first chlorine and then cyanide were also adopted at an early stage. Companies came and went and droughts and depressed prices brought operations to a halt from time to time. The last mining to be done was by Climax Mining ending in the early 1990's but the area is still held under exploration licence.

We have a great line up of speakers; Peter Schmich of Orange will speak on the geology and nature of the gold mineralisation. John Campbell of Carcoar, sho was chemical engineer with Climax mining will speak on the processes used to crush mill and leach the ore. Des Green of Burnt yards /Errowanbang will speak on the villages and land settlement that went with the mines, the surrounding agriculture, and various government closer settlement schemes.

The meeting will take place at the Gladstone Hotel function room at 7 for 7.30pm. There is a small charge of $3 for members of Orange and District Historical Society and $5 for non-members, to cover costs. Light refreshments will be served.
If you have any inquiries or would like to attend the meeting, please RSVP to Phil Stevenson on 6362-3257.