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132 North Ni Mine (Mount Edwards Mine), Widgiemooltha, Coolgardie Shire, Western Australia, Australia

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 31° 27' 36'' South , 121° 32' 24'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -31.46, 121.54


A nickel mine located 6 km north-north-west of Widgiemooltha and 80 km south of Kalgoorlie (the earlier reference to a site to the southeast was incorrect).

Note: at least some of the "Ni-bearing paratacamite" from this mine is in fact gillardite (and some is clinoatacamite).

The 132 North open pit nickel mine has produced the greatest variety of secondary nickel minerals found anywhere in the world to date, some being the best of their species. It is the only locality for widgiemoolthalite and gillardite, and the second known occurrence for kambaldaite and nullaginite. It is one of a number of small komatiite-hosted nickel sulfide deposits in the district. The mine is located approximately 6 kilometers north-northwest of Widgiemooltha in low hills. Widgiemooltha itself is between Kalgoorlie and Norseman, and the town consists of a roadhouse and a couple of houses.

The deposit was discovered in 1968 by International Nickel Australia Ltd. Western Mining Ltd then purchased the deposit, and further drilling identified a small sulfide nickel ore body economical to mine. The mine opened in 1980. When the writer visited in 2011, it had closed.

The deposit is located as part of a 20-kilometre ridge extending north-northwest from Widgiemooltha. On the surface is slightly weathered metabasalt, and strongly weathered ultramafic rock, dated at 2 700 Ma. The deposit consists of the lowermost basalt unit called the Mt Edwards Basalt Formation, overlain by the Widgiemooltha Komatiite Formation. The 132 deposit is within the ultramafic basalt lava flow of the latter. The nickel sulphides within the regolith have been oxidised into a complex series of weathering fronts, including a rare expression of a carbonate front, which has resulted in a host of unusual nickel carbonate minerals.

In 1994, Blair Gartrell recovered over one thousand specimens from the mine, and over one hundred of these were studied by the CSIRO. Widgiemoolthalite was discovered from this study. Blair sold specimens from 132 North and other Western Australian locations by mail order in the early 1990's. Specimens labeled Westaus Mineral Museum (Beverley Western Australia) come from this source. When Blair passed away (1950-1994) his collection, including many specimens from 132 North, may have also entered the market. It is known some specimens at this time ended up with the Western Australian Museum, as well-known local prospector Mark Creasy purchased and donated the 'Gartrell Collection'.

Specimens may have also come from a pile of ore set aside at the mine in the early 1990's. Interest in purchasing the pile for specimens came from America. Conflicting oral accounts given to the writer about how this came about means no more can be confirmed at present.

Mineral List


47 valid minerals. 2 (TL) - type locality of valid minerals. 1 erroneous literature entry.

Rock Types Recorded

Entries shown in red are rocks recorded for this region.

Note: this is a very new system on mindat.org 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 mindat.org. 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 mindat.org 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.

References

Nickel, E.H., Robinson, B.W. & Mumme, W.G. (1993): Widgiemoolthalite- the new Ni analogue of hydromagnesite from Western Australia. American Mineralogist (1993):78: 819-821.

Nickel, E.H., Clout, J.F.M. & Gartrell, B.J. (1994): Secondary Nickel Minerals from Widgiemooltha, Western Australia. Mineralogical Record (1994): 25: 283-291 & 302.

Colchester, D.M., Leverett, P., Clissold, M.E., Williams, P.A., Hibbs, D.E., & Nickel, E.H.,(2007): Gillardite, Cu3NiCl2(OH)6, a new mineral from the 132 North Deposit, Widgiemooltha, Western Australia. Australian Journal of Mineralogy (2007):13(1):15-18

Nickel, E.H. , Clout, J.F. and Gartrell, B.J. (1994): Secondary Nickel Minerals from Widgiemooltha, Western Australia. Mineralogical Record (1994):25(4): 283-291 & 302.

Fetherston, J.M., Stocklmayer, S., Stocklmayer, V.C.(2013): Gemstones of Western Australia-mineral resources bulletin 25, Geological Survey of Western Australia (2013): 199

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