The Super Pit is Australia’s largest open pit gold mine, producing around 850,000 ounces of the precious metal annually. It has literally swallowed up all of the historic underground miles that once comprised the fabled ‘Golden Mile’. The Super Pit was the brainchild of Alan Bond and was eventually brought into being by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) in 1989. Today KCGM manages the mine on behalf of joint-owners Barrack Gold and Newmont Mining, and over 1,000 men and women are employed to operate the mine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The view across the Super Pit from the official lookout (the end point of the Golden Quest Discovery Trail) is one of the most spectacular vistas in Australia. Over 3.5 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide, the pit is currently around 400 metres deep, and it will continue to expand as long as mining remains economically viable. In 2011, the world gold price reached record highs, suggesting that the Super Pit will have a longer life than previously predicted, and the Western Australian Government recently approved the continued expansion of the mine until 2021.
Since 1989, the Super Pit has produced over 13 million ounces of gold. When added to the output of the ‘Golden Mile’ mines that it has replaced, over 54 million ounces have been produced by this extraordinarily rich ‘patch of dirt’ since mining began in the mid-1890s.
Today, the Super Pit is the most the visited attraction within the Goldfields.