‘The most amazing thing that happened in my lifetime is Alan Bond buying up all the leases that became the Super Pit.
Bond saw open cut was needed, started it and it grew and grew. It was the inevitable finish of the single operations.
I remember when it was scattered all over with small companies running their own mines and they were all battling.’
(Charles (Digger) Daws, former president Boulder Shire Council, interviewed, aged 87, in the Kalgoorlie Miner, December 1994)
‘He (Bond) had almost pieced together the jigsaw of leases which were in separate hands for nearly a century. It was now possible to operate a gigantic and ever-descending super pit, in which massive equipment could tear out the old underground workings and the unmined gold in between.’
(From The Rush That Never Ended by Geoffrey Blainey)
This was the origin of the Super Pit, Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s famous landmark that will eventually stretch 3.8 kilometres long, 1.5km wide and go down to a depth of more than 600m. What had once been the Golden Mile, was named the Fimiston Open Pit, which in turn has become commonly known as the Super Pit.
Where small operations had once controlled the famous Golden Mile, WA businessman Alan Bond started buying up the individual leases to create one big company and one big pit, from which gold could be extracted at far less cost.
Bond's company failed to complete the takeover but, in 1989, the entire area was combined. Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd (KCGM) was formed to manage the assets and operations of joint venture partners, Normandy Australia and Homestake Gold of Australia Limited.
For the first time, all leases and infrastructure of the Golden Mile, Mt Charlotte (and Mt Percy to the north) had been brought together. Significant changes – the most since gold was first discovered in Kalgoorlie by Paddy Hannan in 1893 – occurred. It was now possible to mine far more economically for gold and continue the harvest of the Golden Mile, which has produced nearly 50 million ounces of gold since the days of Hannan.
More recently, the joint venture partners have changed and KCGM manages the operation for Newmont Australia Limited and Barrick Gold of Australia Ltd. Their ownership includes the Fimiston Open Pit (Super Pit), Mt Charlotte Underground Mine, Fimiston Mill and Gidji Roaster.
KCGM produces up to 800,000 ounces of gold every year and its operation far outweighs any other mining centre in Australia. The Super Pit is the biggest gold open pit mine in the country.
The company’s operations ensure Australia holds its place, behind South Africa and the USA, as the third biggest gold producer in the world.
KCGM’s operation is at the south-east corner of the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, which is about 600kms east of Perth, capital city of Western Australia.
The Fimiston Open Pit (Super Pit) has swallowed up pits named: Judd, South, Paringa, Croesus/Eclipse, Central, Brownhill, Drysdale, Morrison, North and Horseshoe.
Other shafts located within the current Super Pit included Main, Croesus, Chaffers, Lake View and Perseverance.
KCGM Pty Ltd manages the assets for joint venture partners, Newmont Australia Limited and Barrick Gold of Australia Ltd.
Up to 800,000 ounces of gold a year are produced from the Fimiston Open Pit (Super Pit) and Mt Charlotte.
The Super Pit is mined 24 hours a day, every day of the year.