Western Australia, WA, Australia

Main commodities: Fe
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The Channar operation, which commenced production in 1990, is based on five deposits known collectively as the Channar Mining Area, located within the Hamersley Basin of the Pilbara craton in northwestern Western Auatralia. It is exposed on the southern limb of the Bellary anticline, some 20 km SE of the Paraburdoo mine and around 320 km SSW of its export port of Dampier.

Ore is transported to Paraburdoo by conveyor to be loaded for rail transport to the coast.   The mine is operated by the Rio Tinto Iron Ore group on behalf of the Channar Joint Venture (60% Rio Tinto and 40% China Iron & Steel Industry & Trade Group).

See the Hamersley Basin Iron Province record for the regional setting and stratigraphy.

The orebodies at Channar are predominantly hosted within the Brockman Iron Formation, which overlies the McRae Shale (also of the Hamersley Group), the uppermost member of which is the Colonial Chert. The Brockman Iron Formation commences with the Dales Gorge Member, which comprises an alternating assemblage of 17 BIF and 16 shale macro-bands. This unit is overlain by the Whaleback Shale Member, which is generally barren, and may be locally split into three zones, namely the basal shale, central chert and the upper shale. The upper shale has a gradational contact with the overlying Joffre Member. The Joffre Member is up to 240 m thick and comprises mainly BIF and only minor thin shale interbeds, with regular macro-banding being absent.

Channar comprises five separate deposits which outcrop over a distance of approximately 12 km and a width of 1 to 2 km. The ore bodies are flatly dipping with surface outcrop or minimal coverage of cap rock. Because of the flat dips and limited faulting, the maximum depth of mineralisation is approximately 150 m below the natural ground level. The deposits are topographically elevated, occupying the crests and southern slopes of the easterly trending Paraburdoo Range.

The five deposits comprise Channar, Channar East and 64 East (all of which are Low Phosphorous Brockman microplaty hematite ore with lesser goethite) and 84 East and 94 East (which are High Phosphorous Brockman martite-goethite ores).

High-grade enriched ore consists of subhedral to euhedral 20 to 250 µm martite with overgrowth of 100 to 400 µm microplaty hematite and bladed hematite, hosted within the shallow, south-dipping Dales Gorge and Joffre members and locally in the intervening Colonial Chert and Whaleback Shale members. At the Channar East deposit, the Dales Gorge Member is cut by two northwest-trending, 752±10 Ma dolerite dykes, of which the southernmost is intruded into a normal fault zone. The eastern edge of the orebody is defined by a northeast-trending dolerite dyke that crosscuts and postdates the formation of the high-grade iron ore. One hydrothermal alteration transitional zone of between BIF and high-grade martite-microplaty ore has been identified. In this zone, the martite-dolomite-microplaty hematite-rhodochrositechlorite assemblage has been identified in the hanging wall of a northwest-trending normal fault. Similar structural and stratigraphic controls, paragenetic sequence of alteration assemblages, and fluid geochemistry suggest a shared genetic history for the transformation of BIF to high-grade martite-microplaty hematite at Channar and at the Paraburdoo deposit.

Pre-mining in 1990, the measured resource was 290 Mt @ 63% Fe, 0.088% P, 3.8% Silica, 2.1% Alumina.

The remaining resource + reserve in 2001 was over 200 Mt @ 62.84% Fe, 4.04% Si, 2.18% Al, 0.099% P, 0.098% Mn, 3.39% LOI

Remaining reserves and resources in 2010 (Rio Tinto 2010 Annual Report) were:

      Proven + probable reserves - 65 Mt @ 63.0% Fe;
      Measured resources - 27 Mt @ 61.8% Fe;
      Indicated resources - 7 Mt @ 61.7% Fe
      Inferred resources - 1 Mt @ 61.2% Fe.

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2002.    
This description is a summary from published sources, the chief of which are listed below.
© Copyright Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd.   Unauthorised copying, reproduction, storage or dissemination prohibited.

  References & Additional Information
   Selected References:
Harmsworth R A, Kneeshaw M, Morris R C, Robinson C J, Shrivastava P K  1990 - BIF Derived Iron Ores of the Hamersley Province: in Hughes FE (Ed.), 1990 Geology of the Mineral Deposits of Australia & Papua New Guinea The AusIMM, Melbourne   v1 pp 617-642
Thorne W, Hagemann S, Vennemann T and Oliver N,   2009 - Oxygen Isotope Compositions of Iron Oxides from High-Grade BIF-Hosted Iron Ore Deposits of the Central Hamersley Province, Western Australia: Constraints on the Evolution of Hydrothermal Fluids: in    Econ. Geol.   v104 pp 1019-1035

Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd (PorterGeo) provides access to this database at no charge.   It is largely based on scientific papers and reports in the public domain, and was current when the sources consulted were published.   While PorterGeo endeavour to ensure the information was accurate at the time of compilation and subsequent updating, PorterGeo takes no responsibility what-so-ever for inaccurate or out of date data, information or interpretations.

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