The Red Dome Mine,
near Chillagoe, North Queensland

By Sir Howard Smith

This gold, silver and copper mine in Far North Queensland has in recent time produced, and is still producing, mineral specimens of a size and quality seldom exceeded. Crystallisations of near perfection, combinations of species and colour contrasts,afford specimens beautiful enough to delight even the most fastidious collectors.

Notable among the varieties are colourless, sometimes doubly-terminated. scalenahedral calcite crystals up to 4 or 5 centimetres seated upon dark, doubly-terminated, glassy crystals of siderite, both singly and in groups.

Native copper occurs in nuggets, but crystals of bright copper have not been seen by this writer except for unusual specimens of bright native copper protruding from massive cuprite. In a reverse of this habit, small cuprite crystals are found investing ‘stalactites’ of crystalline native copper.

Manganese minerals occur as a powder covering siderite crystals, and in botryroidal bunches (psilomelane?). This latter form, when seated in vughs among bright green, crystallised malachite,makes for specimens of exceptional beauty. The same manganese mineral occurs associated with, and as inclusions in, clear calcite crystals to 4 or 5 centimetres, another quite dramatic combination.

Red Dome
The Red Dome Opencut in 1995

Stunning specimens of crystallised malachite in globules overlain by perfectly clear and lustrous drusy quartz; and botryoidal, bright green malachite accompanied by stout, glassy azurite crystals up to 2 centimetres, are as desirable as any specimens from this remarkable deposit yet seen.

Minerals Reported from the Red Dome Mine,
Chillagoe, Queensland:

  • Sulphides
    Bornite, Molybdenite, Pyrrhotite, Chalcopyrite, Argentite, Chalcocite, Pyrite, Stibnite, Sphalerite, Galena, Arsenopyrite
  • Oxides
    Hematite, Magnetite, Quartz, ‘Limonite’, Cassiterite
  • Fluorides
  • Tungstate
  • Silicates
    Grossularite, Andradite, Chrysocolla, Wollastonite, Epidote, Vesuvianite, Diopside, Hedenbergite, Orthorclase, Sericite, Tremolite
  • Tellurides
    Sylvanite, Altaite, Petzite, Hessite
  • Carbonates
    Siderite, Azurite, Calcite, Malachite
  • Titano-Silicates
    Titanite (Sphene)
  • Sulpho-Salts
  • Native Metals
    Gold, Copper, Silver
    (to December 1994)

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