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Cannington Mine facts for kids

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Cannington mine
State Queensland
Country Australia
Type Underground
Opened 1997 (1997)
Company South32

The Cannington Silver and Lead Mine is an Australian underground mine located in north-west Queensland, in the Shire of McKinlay, about 200 kilometres (124 mi) southeast of Mount Isa. The deposit was discovered by BHP in 1990. The mine was the supplier of silver for the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics and the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics. Cannington takes its name from the pastoral property near the deposit.


Cannington lies on a broad plain with a few low mesas. The plain is crossed by meandering rivers which are dry for a large part of the year, but which flood periodically. The area is semi-arid with 250 millimetres (9.84 in) of annual rainfall falling mostly between November and March. The mine itself lies near the confluence of the Hamilton River and Trepell Creek.


The deposit is in Paleoproterozoic to Mesoproterozoic (2500–1000 mya) metamorphosed sedimentary rocks, known as the "Soldier's Cap Group", and is overlain by approximately 60 metres (197 ft) of Cretaceous and more recent overburden. The deposit was discovered as result of an aeromagnetic survey of the Soldiers Cap Group in the eastern Mount Isa inlier. The area was selected for survey based upon extrapolations from known prospects and associated lithostratigraphy. In other words, the rocks were the same as other known prospects, only slightly more deeply buried. The aeromagnetic survey pinpointed Cannington as a potential site and subsequent drilling proved it out.

The theory of formation of the Cannington deposit, and the related deposits at McArthur River, Century, Mt Isa, Hilton, and George Fisher, is explored in a 2005 paper by Large, et al.

The major ore minerals are galena and sphalerite. The silver occurs mainly as freibergite but is also present in solid solution within the galena.

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