Metallurgical Plant, Cloncurry

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Townsville Daily Bulletin, Monday 5 August 1907, page 3
("N.Q. Herald" Correspondent)
The well-known mine of Mt. Elliott is situated about a mile further up the valley. It was discovered by Mr James Elliott, who has lately gone to his rest. After being purchased by Mr J. H. Morphett, it was at last floated into a company, and now under the management of Mr. W. A. Waller, everything is progressing as favorably as the most sanguine shareholders could wish. Without any doubt Mt. Elliott is the show mine of the district. For the time it has been worked, the amount of development and general progress made is astonishing; and there is scarcely a shaft or drive about the mine that has not returned a fair production of ore. At present there is quite enough copper in sight to assure the success of the whole undertaking, and still no evidence has been found as to a limit in the supply of good grade ore. All the mineral in sight consists chiefly of carbonates, red oxide, and black oxide; and it can reasonably be expected that sulphides will be reached when the mine is deep enough. A few mines of the Mt. Elliott description would at once silence all croaking about the future of the Cloncurry field. At the mine there Is a Company's store which sells goods cheaply to the miners. Good water is found in a well close by and drawn up by a 'whip' horse. Mr Walley informed your correspondent that condensed water was provided for the men on the works; so it is evident that the wants of the miners are well attended to; and when all the conditions of climate, cost of living, etc., are considered, Mt. Elliott must be regarded as one of the best camps in the district.


During 1924-25 the Mount Elliott Company and Hampden Cloncurry negotiated a scheme of amalgamation but this fell through when Mount Elliott acquired the Mount Cuthbert properties. In 1926 Hampden Cloncurry conceded defeat and offered its assets for sale by tender, most being acquired by Mount Elliott, who finally gained control of virtually the entire Cloncurry copper field and belatedly fulfilled W.H. Corbould's vision of 1909 for amalgamation. But it was too late: funds were exhausted and prices were low (Hore-Lacey 1981:175). The company decided to use the English Mackay process to utilise the low-grade ores of the district. This was a new form of electrolytic smelting.

In 1926 the company started building the first 1,000 ton per year unit of a large electro-chemical copper treatment plant at Cloncurry on the outskirts of the town adjacent to the railway line. This comprised crushing, roasting furnace, leaching vats and a cell house section and was completed in April 1927.

Courtesy of Queensland Heritage Register


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