Gold prospecting and gold deposit Kanowna Belle Australia

Gold prospecting in Kanowna Belle Australia was first discovered approximately 20 kilometres northeast of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia,  in 1893 about a year after Bayley and Ford discovered the Coolgardie Field and not long after Paddy Hannan located the gold-bearing alluvials that led to the discovery of the Golden Mile at Kalgoorlie-Boulder, also in 1893.

Kanowna Belle in Australiia lies hidden beneath a sand and thin sheetwash-covered plain dotted with salmon gums and bluebush about 18 kilometres northeast of Kalgoorlie. The old townsite of Kanowna and its surrounding vein, 'cement' and deep lead workings lie some two kilometres to the east and northeast of Kanowna Belle.

The deposit in Kanowna Belle Australia contains widespread and variable carbonate-sericite, sodic and minor silicic alteration. Pyrite is variably disseminated, occasionally veined, comprises between 1 and 5% of the rock by weight and is generally related to gold mineralisation. Other sulphide species or tellurides are present in minor amounts of less than 0.1% combined.

Gold mineralisation occurs with disseminated pyrite on and within discrete grains or blebs. Visible free gold is occasionally seen.Higher-grade zones frequently exhibit stringer-type quartz-pyrite veins. Generally, the bulk of the 5g/t Au mineralisation is associated with fine networks described as crackle-brecciation with sericite-carbonate alteration and variable silicification.

Gold production from Kanowna peaked in 1898 with just over 150,000 ounces produced from vein, 'cement' and deep lead sources. Production was sporadic between 1911 and 1946 when production, to all intents and purposes, ceased.

Interest in Kanowna surged again in 1979 as the gold price rose, resulting in increased exploration activity and, in 1986, the recommencement of mining at Kanowna. Total gold production from the Kanowna area is approximately one million ounces.

Exploration for additional mineralisation in the Kanowna area focussed on extending, or finding repetitions of known vein deposits and deep leads. Minor success was achieved on both fronts leading to the open pit mine on the old Ballarat and Last Chance vein systems (Delta Gold 67.5%, Pancontinental Mining 32.5%) and the commencement, after the amalgamation of leases to form the Golden Valley Joint Venture (Delta Gold 50%, Peko Gold 50%), of mining the deep leads for heap-leach treatment at the QED operation.

The Kanowna Belle discovery evolved as a conceptual model beginning as an occurrence of steeply dipping and narrow gold-bearing veins of limited extent - the interpretation placed on RAB results obtained in 1987 and 1988. A large area (400 metres by 300 metres) of anomalous gold-in-soil values, defined in 1989 in the area of the RAB drilling, was inconsistent with the concept. Follow-up RAB drilling and the discovery RC drill hole in December 1989 led to an alternative concept - that of a flat-lying but otherwise apparently structureless, supergene body which did not fit either a vein or deep lead concept.

Interpretation of deeper and more widespread (vertical) drilling results throughout 1990 demonstrated an elongation of the deposit to the southwest and suggested a southern dip direction. (It was the drilling of deeper holes GDD117, GDC118 and GDC119 late in 1990 that revealed the potential size of Kanowna Belle with intercepts of 50 - 80 metres of 2 - 5g/t Au).

Total production from the whole field, mostly from within a few kilometres of Kanowna, was approximately one million ounces - a significant field in the old days and certainly worth a serious look ten years ago.