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Rare earth discovery at Doradilla near Bourke


Core samples being examined at the Doradilla mining site. Photo TWH

CEO of Sky Metals Oliver Davies. Photo TWH

Bourke could be the site of an important mining operation, following the detection of rare earth minerals at the old Doradilla copper and tin mine in the eastern part of the Bourke Shire.

A mining company called Sky Metals has announced that it had raised $5.6 million to accelerate drilling work at its Doradilla Tin-Copper Project near Mount Oxley.

The Doradilla Project 45km south-east of Bourke has great promises for mining of polymetallic tin, copper, silver, bismuth, indium, and zinc mineralisation.

The company will issue 65.9 million new shares to investors and the company said it will use the proceeds for general working capital, and to accelerate an exploration program at its tin, copper, and gold projects, particularly at Doradilla.

Sky Metals CEO Oliver Davies said rare earths were vital for the manufacture of high powered magnets used in a range of technologies, including for power generation in wind turbines.

“We would be a couple of years away from mining activities at Doradilla and that’s with everything going right,” Mr Davies said.

“It’s a risky exploration and we would need everything to go our way to develop it but it has a lot of potential.

“Over 90 per cent of rare earth is sourced in China so it would be a benefit to have a reliable source here in Australia.

“The outcomes for the Bourke region would be significant, it would mean a lot of jobs and we would probably be looking at large scale operation which would bring a lot of people in.

“It has uses for industry, and it would be of interest to groups like the US military,” Mr Davies said.

The Doradilla site has a chequered history. Mr Davies said tin was first detected there when the NSW government flew regional magnetic surveys in the 1970s. […]


History of Doradilla Mining In 1906 copper was discovered at Doradilla and an exploratory shaft of 164 feet was installed. On 23 November 1917 the Doradilla Copper Mining and Smelting Company Limited was floated to work the ‘Tom Riley’ mine at Doradilla. Press reports at the time said that, despite the drop in copper prices, 15,000 tonnes is contracted to Japan and rumours circulated that ‘Doradilla may yet rival the Cobar copper mine. The company was managed by a W. S. Curteis who was lured from the Great Cobar Copper Mine. Meanwhile seven new claims were taken up at Doradilla and a second mine the “Doradilla King” was opened. By 1920 there are 19 men working the Doradilla mine and a total population of 50 people living at the mine, and a sports day is held at Doradilla. By 1921 a J Kennedy is granted a conditional licence for a hotel at Doradilla where the population is expected to reach up to 400 people. By 1923 when the copper price collapsed, Cobar is reported to be a ‘deserted village’ and the Doradilla mine, like all NSW copper mines is lying idle. Source: The History of Bourke, various volumes, Bourke and District Historical Society

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