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Ripon Hills manganese prospects, Ripon Hills District, East Pilbara Shire, Western Australia, Australia

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 21° 12' 54'' South , 120° 44' 13'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -21.21504,120.73718
GeoHash:G#: qsjz73yjk
Locality type:Group of Prospects
Köppen climate type:BWh : Hot deserts climate

The main group of deposits cover an area 6 kilometres by 5 kilometres, north of the Ripon Hills Road, between the Nullagine River and Yilgalong Creek crossings.

Longeach Oil Ltd formed a subsidiary called the Longreach Manganese Pty Ltd (in another source Longreach Metals NL, and in another Australian Longreach Metals Company).

The deposits were known from the 1950's, but extensively explored by Longreach Metals NL from 1968 to 1972. The company appeared on the verge of commercial production with a purchase agreement with Nippon Steel. The tenements, plant and equipment had been purchased from the Mount Sydney Manganese Pty Ltd at Woodie Woodie. However, it appears to have come to nought. In 2009, the deposits were explored by Jupiter Minerals.

Ripon Hills is a dissected fault plateau, formed by the uplift blocks of gently dipping Proterozoic shales, Pinjian cherts and Carawine dolomite. The shale is Mn and Fe enriched, with overlying chert breccia.

The ore deposits are Fe and Mn erratic supergene replacement of shale, and leaching of other minerals. The ore is fine grained pyrolusite, intergrown with fine grained hematite, with locally extensively altered bixbyite and braunite, cryptomelane, lithiophorite aggregates, hosted by kaolin.

At a cut-off rate of 20% Mn, the resource of 12 Mt, grading at 24.6% Mn, and 23% Fe. Much of the remaining deposit is low grade. In 1972, the proven resource was 20 Mt, with Indicated and Inferred resource of 50 Mt. It was also stated there was a small iron ore deposit of 10 Mt of 64-68% Fe.

It has been formed by the laterite weathering of Proterozoic ferruginous-manganiferous shales, forming supergene Fe-Mn ores in the upper 11 metres from the surface, caused by irregular substitution of the parent rocks by Fe and Mn oxyhydroxides during leaching and intensive removal of other components.

The old derelict processing plant remains, surrounded by overgrown piles of manganese, with various very small isolated manganese pits in the surrounding area. The site is not easily accessed, the track from the north off Warrwagine Road, rather than Rippon Hills Road. It goes for miles in a southerly direction along creeks, and through hills, and is likely in a poor state. The track continues west of the old processing plant onto the flats and for several kilometres to an unusual large, and equally little visited sinkhole.

Mineral List

7 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

1600 - 2500 Ma

ID: 701039
Pinjian Chert Breccia

Age: Proterozoic (1600 - 2500 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Pinjian Chert Breccia

Description: Chert breccia and poorly bedded chert. Interpreted to be a siliceous replacement deposit formed by karstic weathering of the Carawine Dolomite.

Comments: sedimentary; sedimentary non-carbonate chemical or biochemical; synthesis of multiple published descriptions

Lithology: Sedimentary; sedimentary non-carbonate chemical or biochemical

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]

2500 - 2800 Ma

ID: 3186668
Archean sedimentary and volcanic rocks

Age: Neoarchean (2500 - 2800 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Fortescue Group

Comments: Pilbara Craton

Lithology: Mafic volcanic rocks; shale

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

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.


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Ostwald, J. (1984), Two Varieties of Lithiophorite in Some Australian Deposits, Mineralogical Magazine, Vol 48, pp383-388, September 1984
The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper (1972), Longreach Confident, 30/05/1972
Varentson, I.M. (1996), Manganese Ores of Supergene Zone: Geochemistry of Formation, Ch. Manganese Ores in Weathering Crust, Geological Institute, Russian Acadamy of Sciences, Moscow, P109, 1996
The Canberra Times newspaper (1968), Longreach to Mine Manganese, 03/09/1968
The Canberra Times newspaper (1971), Longreach in Pact on WA Manganese Ore, 07/07/1971
The Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (1977), Investigation of the Ferruginous Manganese Deposits at Ripon Hills. Pilbara Manganese Province. Western Australia, 1977

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