the early 1970s Alan entered into an agreement with Marshal Boyd
of the famous Hotal Boyd in Mount Isa to re-open the old Kuridala
mine. Over a period of about a year, Alan and Sydney lawyer Bill
Burge invested about a million dollars to explore and develop
the potential of Kuridala. However, low copper prices and an eventual
decision by the Australian Government to peg the Australian Copper
Price at an artificially low price make the operation unviable.
Alan and Mary, with the help of friends like Alan Phillips (now
chairman of Eastern Gold Corporation) and others, tried several
times to locate ore that would allow the mine to keep operating
at the artificially low prices; but eventually the project had
to be abandoned. That's Alan and Alan working the equipment in
the photos to the left.
During the five years that they worked Kuridala on and off until
finally abandoning the project in 1976, they recovered the old
Central Shaft and carried out extensive heap leaching tests using
acidic waters from the mine.
In the First World War period, Kuridala was one of the biggest
mines in North West Queensland. A railway even existed linking
Kuridala to Mount Elliott (south) and Cloncurry (North) and eventually
also to Mount Isa. If you look on a map today you will see that
the railway line from Cloncurry actually doglegs south instead
of going straight to Mount Isa. This is why.
Kuridala is located on Devoncourt Station owned by Don McDonald,
now chairman of the National Party of Australia. The area was
maintained for many years by the Tunney Family who ran the old
Kuridala Post Office.
Alan first located the un-tapped potential of Kuridala after working
in underground planning and design at Mount Isa Mines, where he
was responsible for developing plans and sections of the old Mount
Isa workings. This showed him how the old miners used to identify
ore in the old days when Kuridala was a thriving operation.