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Lanfranchi Nickel Mine, Coolgardie Shire, Western Australia, Australia

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 31° 30' 43'' South , 121° 51' 44'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -31.51215,121.86240
GeoHash:G#: qdqstp3kr
Locality type:Mine
Köppen climate type:BSk : Cold semi-arid (steppe) climate

The Lanfranchi nickel deposits are 40 kilometres south of Kambalda. It is wedged between the Lake Cowan Goldfield to the south- a group of small gold mines just north of Lake Cowan, and the St Ives Gold Camp- a large number of north north-west to south south-east underground and open pit gold mines extending across Lake Lefroy from Kambalda and then further south to the border of the Lanfranchi leases.

The deposits contain high grade nickel sulphide ribbon-like shoots at the base of high magnesium komatiite lava flows or channels. The channels run north-south, and the main ones from the west are Edwin, Lanfranchi, Schmitz/Winner, Helmut/Deacon and low grade McComish. The low grade Cruickshank and just south of this Gigantus deposits are 6 kilometres to the north-east. Altogether there are 10 channels of which 6 have seen mining activity. The shoots occupy channel structures in the underlying Lunnon Basalt. Above this the sequence becomes progressively less magnesium rich.

Ore is transported by truck via a haulage road through the St Ives leases, and across a causeway on Lake Lefroy to BHP Billiton's Nickel West Kambalda concentrator, 40 kilometres to the north.

From 1960 to 2002, Western Mining Corporation explored and conducted mining through the area. Western Mining first discovered nickel at its Tramway leases in the 1970's, and 10 nickel sulphide orebodies were discovered through exploration. They produced 101 000 tonnes Ni from Edwin, Lanfranchi, Schmitz, Skinner and Helmut. Mining began on the Edwin shoot in 1976 by Western Mining Corporation.

The leases were purchased from Western Mining's Nickel West in November 2004 as a joint venture, with Canadian based Panorama Resources (75%) and Brilliant Mining (via its subsidiary Donegal Resources)(25%). In 2009, Panorama bought out Brilliant's share giving it total control over the mines. At the time of purchase from Nickel West the site was under care and maintenance. Panorama re-started mining. It is operated by Lanfranchi Nickel Mines Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Panorama.

In 2010, Proven and Probable reserves were 2.25 million tonnes of ore at 2.45% Ni yielding 55 000 tonnes of contained nickel. The mine life of the area is expected to be till 2020. The leases contain one underground mine (Lanfranchi) accessing several orebodies, and one decommissioned underground mine (Winner). The Helmut South orebody has also been previously mined. There is also an accommodation village, and paste plant facility. This is a basic pug mill combining gold tailings from the St Ives mines to the north owned by Goldfields, cement and water to produce cement stabilised tailings. This is transported by conveyor belts into the Lanfranchi mine where the paste is used to fill underground voids.

In July 2015 a small earthquake in the region closed access to the Deacon and Jury-Metcalfe orebodies, and half the workforce (76) was made redundant. Mining continues at the Lanfranchi orebody, with plans to develop access to the Lower Schmitz deposit.

Commodity List

This is a list of exploitable or exploited mineral commodities recorded from this region.

Mineral List

Mineral list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities

18 valid minerals.

Rock Types Recorded

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Rock list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities

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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: 808102
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

Localities in this Region
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This page 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.


Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Panorama Resources Ltd (2014), Deacon Nickel Sulphide Discovery Kambalda WA, CET Discovery Day Fremantle, 18/02/2014
Department of Environment and Conservation (2012), Environmental Protection Act 1986. Licence Granted, 11/10/2012
Australian Mining (2015), Panorama Resources Cuts Jobs After Seismic Event, 03/08/2015

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