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Tasmania's geology lends itself to a very active minerals exploration and mining industry. Mines are mainly in the west, while processing plants are located near ports or railways. A map showing locations of mines and processing plants is available from the Mineral Resources Tasmania website by clicking on the link 'Exploration and Mining' then 'Mining Industry' then 'Infrastructure Map'.
Construction materials such as crushed and broken stone and gravel are also produced.
The Greater Hobart-Southern Region is not rich in minerals. The only mining production in the Greater Hobart Southern Region is of construction materials, with quarries at locations such as Bridgewater, South Arm, Mount Lloyd, and West Uxbridge in the Derwent Valley. A thermal coal supply is located at Hamilton, however the characteristics exhibited by the product coal created difficulties in its handling and use. Mining was suspended while the difficulties were investigated and activities were relocated to the Northern Region. At Risdon near Hobart, zinc mineral concentrates are used to produce zinc metal, at the Zinifex Hobart Smelter. A by-product of the production of zinc at Risdon is sulphuric acid, which is used on site to make farm fertilisers.
The Northern Region has one mining operation for the production of metallic minerals, that being gold at Beaconsfield. Gold exploration in Tasmania is focused on the abandoned gold mines in the north east and the rejuvenated Beaconsfield mine. Fuel mineral deposits are evident throughout Tasmania, but they are most important in the north east. Coal is mined from collieries at Duncan, near St Mary's and Cullenswood near Fingal. The coal is not of export quality and is used by local industry.
Non-metallic minerals produced at quarries in the Northern Region include:
There are two main mineral processing plants in the Northern Region, both located at Bell Bay. One plant converts alumina (produced from bauxite in Queensland) to aluminium to produce such products as the aluminium powder used in explosives and in metallic paints. The other plant produces ferro- and silico-manganese alloys from manganese ore, iron ore and coal from mainland Australia, mixing them with local quartzite and limestone.
The Mersey-Lyell Region of Tasmania is famous for its mineralisation, particularly for metallic minerals: base metals, gold and iron ore. Two main mining operations in the Mersey-Lyell Region extract base metals: a silver-lead-zinc mine at Rosebery on Tasmania's west coast, and a world-class copper mine at Mt Lyell, in the Queenstown area of western Tasmania.
Other mining production activities in this region include:
Source: Mineral Resources Tasmania, Annual Review 2003-2004.
Further information about Tasmanian mining can be found on this web site under Statistics - Tasmania (cat. no. 1384.6)