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Gove, Nhulunbuy

Northern Territory, NT, Australia

Main commodities: Al
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The Gove bauxite deposit is located on the Gove Peninsula, adjacent to the town of Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory, Australia, some 650 km east of Darwin.   The deposit lies near the coast, at a latitude of 12° 15'S of the equator and is in a region with a tropical, monsoonal climate.

The geology of the Gove Peninsular comprises a foliated Precambrian migmatitic basement which is unconformably overlain by flat lying Mesozoic sediments - composed of quartzose and feldspathic sands, clays, siltstones and rare thin lenses of lignite - dominantly concealed by soil with few exposures, except on breakaways on the margin of the plateau they form.   The Mesozoic sediments are up to 200 m thick, although the thickness varies with the basement relief.   Lignites in the sediments were deposited in a lacustrine environment during the lower Cretaceous.   The initial peneplanation, formation of a plateau and development of a laterite and bauxite profile is believed to have taken place soon after the sedimentation of the Mesozoic sequence, followed by later epeirogenic uplift, renewed erosion and dissection to form the present plateau remnants.

The bauxite profile comprises the following, from the base:
* Ferruginous-siliceous Laterite - more than 5 m of barren red-brown, massive, vesicular and conglomeratic rock without a well defined base into the Mesozoic protoliths.
* Tubular Ore - 1.0 m of red-brown massive rock with irregular, vesicular like, tubular shaped cavities that cut all original rock textures.
* Cemented Pisolitic Ore - 1.5 m of densely packed pisolites whose outer shells are fused with their neighbours, with only minor matrix and a porous nature.   Pisolites have diameters of 1 to 15 mm.   This band has a sharp undulose contact with the underlying Tubular ore.
* Loose Pisolitic Ore - 3.0 m of red to brown 1 to 10 mm pisolites loosely set within a subordinate matrix of sandy angular quartz, laterite fragments, bauxite grains and broken pisolites.   The contact with the Cemented Pisolites is sharp and has a mild karstic appearance.
* Topsoil - 2.0 m of red-brown clayey loam with scattered pisolites and other fragments of the underlying profile.

The bauxite orebody is contained between the top of the laterite and the base of the topsoil.   The principal minerals in the bauxite profile are gibbsite and hematite/goethite, with subordinate boehmite.

The mineable bauxite covers an area of around 63 sq. km with an average thickness of 3.5 m.
Total proven reserves in 1975 were: 250 Mt @ 51% Al2O3, 4% SiO2.
Production from 1972 to 2003 has totalled 150 Mt of bauxite for 40 Mt of Alumina, ie. a recovered grade of 26.5% Al2O3.

For detail consult the reference(s) listed below.

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:
Somm A F  1975 - Gove bauxite deposits, NT: in Knight C L, (Ed.), 1975 Economic Geology of Australia & Papua New Guinea The AusIMM, Melbourne   Mono 5 pp 964-968


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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