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Donnelly River Graphite Deposit, Bridgetown-Greenbushes Shire, Western Australia, Australia

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 34° 13' 12'' South , 115° 55' 22'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -34.22018,115.92293
GeoHash:G#: q9fmmfksb
Locality type:Deposit
Köppen climate type:Csb : Warm-summer Mediterranean climate

This was reported by the Department of Mines in 1894, and again in 1916. Located 20 kilometres west of Manjimup, about one kilometre south-west of One Tree Bridge, and just north of Henwood Road in thick forest. The site may contain a washing plant ruin, collapsed adit, and at least three timbered shafts.

In 1888, a Busselton syndicate explored the site, but the low price for graphite at the time made it uneconomic. Early 1894, A. Knox-Brown discovered more graphite close to the old find. An adit was driven into a ridge, along with several shallow shafts, and small open cuts. Samples were sent to several overseas firms, however the material was assessed as valueless due to its pale colour and earthiness.

In 1902, A.A. Carlier attempted unsuccessfully to float a company in London to mine the deposit. In 1905, a number of leases and local syndicates were formed, but little mining or developmental work was undertaken. H.J. Saunders tried unsuccessfully to float a company in New York. The Donnelly River Graphite Company went into voluntary liquidation this year, after finding no market for the material. Heinrich Sillem had developed the mine for the company, and suffered considerable financial losses from the mine's failure.

R.G. Clark then held the leases from around 1909 to at least 1916. Apart from deepening an existing shaft, no more work was done, the site abandoned. The total area of leases covered approximately 3 miles north-south and 1.5 miles east-west. The original workings are in the south-east corner of this area, and later workings in the centre.

Knox-Brown's drive into the ridge revealed three beds of graphite; the first 28 feet thick, followed by 13 feet of schistose rock containing a small bed 1 foot 6 inches thick, and then a third bed 8 feet thick.

The graphite area is in an east-west shear zone, bounded to the north where the gneissic rocks contact greenstone dykes, and the south by magmatic porphyry granite with dolerite veins. The graphite forms beds, grey when dry and black when wet, ranging from almost pure clay to seams and bunches of fairly high quality. The wall rock is more siliceous with disseminated graphite scales. Generally it is amorphous graphite intermixed with clay and minute graphite flakes.

The area included historically a 60 foot shaft, the adit described above, and several prospecting shafts and small open cuts. The quality of the material was said to improve with depth, but could not be verified by the geologist in 1916, due to the 60 foot shaft being full of water.

18 tonnes was produced between 1940 to 1943. O'Brien and the Giacci Brothers Pty Ltd explored the site in 1984 to 1986, then Cable Sands (W.A.) Pty Ltd 1986 to 1988.

There are five graphite lodes. The most northern is Top Lode, not discovered until 1985, 3 to 4 metres thick and 40 metres in strike of high grade graphite. The southern most is Creek Lode also discovered in 1985 of clayey low grade graphite. The North-West and Centre Lodes are a single body 130 metres long and 4 to 10 metres thick. The Lower Lode is 6 to 11 metres thick and strikes for 100 metres, containing 18 metres of good graphite, and some contamination of soil and clay in the upper portion. The deposits are on the Hanging Wall layer of hard ferruginous duricrust.

Please note the Mindat co-ordinates could be approximate. A visit to the site listed based on maps in written references, failed to locate any evidence of mining, although it could be hidden within thick karri forest.

Mineral List

1 valid mineral.

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.

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2500 - 4000 Ma

ID: 920431
quartzite, schist 74469

Age: Archean (2500 - 4000 Ma)

Description: Quartzite +/- kyanite, sillimanite, muscovite/fuchsite, garnet, hornblende, clinopyroxene, epidote; psammitic and pelitic schists +/- garnet, felsic gneiss and hornfels, quartz-mica-graphite schist, metaconglomerate, cordierite-bearing rock

Comments: metasedimentary siliciclastic; synthesis of multiple published descriptions

Lithology: Metasedimentary siliciclastic

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: 3189638
Archean crystalline metamorphic rocks

Age: Archean (2500 - 3200 Ma)

Comments: Yilgarn Craton

Lithology: Amphibolite/granulite grade orthogneiss

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, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

This page 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.


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Western Australian Mines Department (1894), Report of the Mines Department for the Year 1894 Western Australia, Western Australia State Government, 1894.
Western Mail newspaper (Perth) (1916), Donnelly River Graphite Deposits, 10/11/1916
The Daily News newspaper (Perth) (1905), Donnelly River Graphite, 22/11/1905
Fetherston, J.M. (2015), Graphite in Western Australia, Geological Society of Western Australia, Department of Mines and Petroleum, Bulletin 26, 2015

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