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Wannaway Ni Mine (Wannaway deposit), Widgiemooltha, Coolgardie Shire, Western Australia, Australia

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 31° 36' 20'' South , 121° 31' 16'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -31.60574,121.52123
GeoHash:G#: qdqkjq351
Locality type:Mine
Köppen climate type:BSk : Cold semi-arid (steppe) climate

A nickel mine located about 12 km SSW of Widgiemooltha.
Mined between 1984 and 1998, mining recommenced in late 2001.

Discovered by Anaconda and CRA in 1969. A shaft was sunk to test the deposit across 1971-1972. Mined between 1984-1998 by Western Mining Corporation. During this period 553 000 tonnes was mined at 2.3% Ni 12 560 of Ni ore. The ore body was depleted by 1998 and the mine abandoned. However a second higher grade orebody was discovered alongside the original one, and mined by Mincor Resources between 2001-2008 before again this was depleted and the mine closed. During this period 524 000 tonnes of ore was mined at 3% Ni from 15 844 tonnes of Ni ore and 13 931 of Ni concentrates. Mincor owns and operates all the nickel mines across the Kambalda and Widgiemooltha Domes. The deposit is high in magnesium accounting for 45% of the serpentinite.

Wannaway is a Fe-Ni-Cu deposit of metamorphosed volcanic peridotite at the base of an altered Archaean Komatiite flow sequence. The main ore zone occurs in thick, dunitic units lying above the base and at places converging into the underlying metabasalt.

The deposit has a complex history of deformation. During metamorphism picritic and peridotitic rocks overlying the ore transformed to foliated and metamorphosed amphibole-chlorite dominated assemblage. The dunites however remained largely intact. The sulphides reverted to a metamorphic monosulfide solid solution, possibly accompanied by pentlandite and heazlewoodite, and on a small scale tectonically mobilised along the faults. Breccia ores were also formed at this stage. During cooling the ores developed small scale layering, preferred grain orientation, deformation twinning, and kinking in the pyrrhotite. Extensive retrogressive serpentinisation of the host ultramafic rocks led to locally reducing condition, and the release of Fe from relect olivine. The increase in Fe in the sulphide assemblage in the serpentinites led to the development of mackinawite after pentlandite, valleriite,troilite-hexagonal pyrrhotite intergrowths.

Commodity List

This is a list of exploitable or exploited mineral commodities recorded at this locality.

Mineral List

19 valid minerals.

Rock Types Recorded

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Regional Geology

This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.

Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on Macrostrat.org

2500 - 4000 Ma

ID: 719926
mafic extrusive rocks 74248

Age: Archean (2500 - 4000 Ma)

Description: Basalt, high-Mg basalt, minor mafic intrusive rocks; some andesite; agglomerate; mafic schist; amphibolite; dolerite; komatiitic basalt; carbonated basalt; basaltic andesite; mafic rock interleaved with minor granitic rock

Comments: igneous mafic volcanic; igneous mafic intrusive; synthesis of multiple published descriptions

Lithology: Igneous mafic volcanic; igneous mafic intrusive

Reference: Raymond, O.L., Liu, S., Gallagher, R., Zhang, W., Highet, L.M. Surface Geology of Australia 1:1 million scale dataset 2012 edition. Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia). [5]

Neoarchean - Mesoarchean
2500 - 3200 Ma

ID: 3187518
Archean volcanic rocks

Age: Archean (2500 - 3200 Ma)

Comments: Yilgarn Craton

Lithology: Greenstone belt; mafic-ultramafic volcanic rocks

Reference: Chorlton, L.B. Generalized geology of the world: bedrock domains and major faults in GIS format: a small-scale world geology map with an extended geological attribute database. doi: 10.4095/223767. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 5529. [154]

Data and map coding provided by Macrostrat.org, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

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McQueen, K.G. (1981) The nature and metamorphic history of the Wannaway nickel deposit, Western Australia. Economic Geology 1981, Vol. 76(6), pp.1444-1468.
Marston, R.J. (1984) Nickel Mineralization in Western Australia. Mineral Resources Bulletin 14, Geological Survey of Western Australia, 291p. 

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