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Johannsen's Phlogopite Mine, Strangways Range, Central Desert Region, Northern Territory, Australia

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 23° 13' 41'' South , 134° 6' 7'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -23.2283333333, 134.102222222

Johannsen's Phlogopite Mine operated in the early 1940's and produced about 3.6 tonnes of phlogopite. The phlogopite was recovered from shafts to about 15 metres depth, but much of it contained inclusions of euhedral magnetite, rendering it unsuitable for industrial use.

Kurt Gerhardt Johannsen was born 11 January 1915 at Deep Well Station in the Northern Territory. While only achieving an education to grade 3 in primary school, his mechanical abilities and business acumen saw him in great demand across central Australia. He started working aged 11. The varieties of enterprises Kurt was involved with during his lifetime is startling, a brief summary provided here.

Due to drought and his father's sickness, the family abandoned the station in 1929, and Kurt took up rubbish collecting in Alice Springs. Then building houses, sinking wells, carting firewood, repairing old trucks, windmills and pumps. He also carted general stores to outlying areas.

In 1932 he obtained the mail run to areas east of Alice Springs, the following year the mail run to Tennant Creek, and Birdum at the Darwin railhead. He briefly conducted mining at the Winnecke Goldfield across 1932-1933. Then he started building his own trucks. By 1937 he was working a mica mine called Aulgana with Sam Weller in the Harts Range. He established a salt depot and garage in Alice Springs, built a gas powered engine, and constructed early road trains to cart cattle. A brief period in 1943 he mined mica at the location this is written under, and by 1949 was mining copper in the Jervois area, which continued on and off for a number of years. He conducted the first mining development at the Rum Jungle Uranium Mine.

Then in 1950 he joined two other men to search for the fabled Lasseter's Reef. Across the 1950's and 60's his road train business, and copper mining at Jervois continued. In 1967, he joined Joe Baldesera, who had discovered the Tosca turquoise mine, however the gemstone grades were too variable, and they sold out to a company. From 1972 to 1977, he joined his son Lindsay to mine scheelite in the Bonya Hills, and Molyhill, before retiring to Adelaide.

The Johannsen Phlogopite Mine is in rugged country in the southern part of Strangways in a section called the Utnalanama Range. It is located 49 kilometres north along the Stuart Highway from Alice Springs, then take the road towards The Garden pastoral station homestead to the east. At roughly 30 kilometres along this road, a track winds north into the hills to the workings. A shack/shed, water tanks is found at the end of the track. Workings consist of a shaft and mine dumps.

Lensoid masses of coarse grained phlogopite as large crystals is found in coarse grained garnet-cordierite-quartz-feldspar granulite, also containing pods of mafic granulite. Galena, sphalerite and chalcopyrite, with or without phlogopite can also be found on the dumps, with minor covellite. Other minerals found on the dump are coarse grained olivine, calcite, spinel, and magnetite.

The mine is part of a tightly folded synform, disrupted later by a fault filling pegmatite. Country rock is light grey medium grained spotted hypersthene-cordierite granulite, dark hypersthene, and pink garnet (1-5 cms) poikiloblastic porphyroblasts (mineral with small inclusions of rock which came before it).

Rock types near the old shaft are highly variable and interesting:
- hypersthene-biotite-plagioclase-sapphirine-cordierite
- biotite-chlorite-spinel-corundum-hogbomite (Fe)-magnetite
- brown cordierite-plagioclase-sphene
- spinel-gedrite-hypersthene-phlogopite-sapphirine
- hypersthene-gedrite-spinel

Mineral List

21 valid minerals.

Rock Types Recorded

Entries shown in red are rocks recorded for this region.

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

The above list contains all mineral locality references listed on 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 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.


Warren, R.G. (1980) Summary descriptions of mineral deposits by commodities in the Alice Springs 1:250 000 Sheet Area, Northern Territory. Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics, Record 1980/44.

Wilson, A. F. (1977) A zincian högbomite and some other högbomites from the Strangways Range, Central Australia. Mineralogical Magazine, Vol.41, pp. 337-44.

Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre, Kurt Gerhardt Johannsen, b. 11 January 1915, Deep Well NT, USH00471.

Dampier Mining Company Ltd (1977) Exploration Licences 1341 and 1342. "Strangways Range' and 'Hale River'. Arunta Complex, Northern Territory Final Report CR77/139.

Hejny, C., Gnos, E., Grobety, B., Armbruster, T. (2002) Crystal chemistry of the polysome ferrohögbomite-2N2S, a long-known but newly defined mineral species. European Journal of Mineralogy, Vol. 14 no. 5 pp.957-967.

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