Mining Mookaite in Western Australia at Mooka Springs
A lot has changed since the early days of mining
Heavy machinery is a huge force multiplier, and makes it easier to restore the ground to original condition when mining is completed.
Mining is a team effort in this remote wilderness country
It is important to maintain communications with the outside world for reasons of safety
There is nothing quite like the feeling of extracting gem material. Highly addictive! No known cure!
Gem material is often large and spectacular.
A hard day’s work means a big appetite! Chef and Master gem cutter Mick prepares a meal.
We always remember the blokes from earlier days with respect and fondness.
We are very fortunate to have the friendship and cooperation of the traditional landowners.
Mookaite has been a valued commodity for tool making and projectile points here for more than 40,000 years.
After extraction, quite a bit of transportation is required
The bush does not release the treasure readily. Bogging of vehicles is frequent.
Back at the main road the depot is prepared for load out to Melbourne.
Once the rough material arrives at the Crystal World Lapidary factory in Melbourne, the processing starts.
Some is sent to Bali for carving.
We have a massive amount of material slabbed or completely rough for lapidarists.
Mookaite is a silicified porcellanite or Jasper formed in the sedimentary environment of the ocean floor.
Siliceous ooze is a siliceous pelagic sediment that covers large areas of the deep ocean floor. Siliceous oozes consist predominantly of the remains of microscopic sea creatures, mostly those of diatoms and radiolarians.
The silica material from which it is derived comes from the abundant zooplankton of the Radiolaria family.
Radiolarians have a highly geometric skeleton made of very fine silica, this is what forms Mookaite.