Thursday, March 12, 2015


Another small section of mum's story of the Guilds.  I am not entirely sure how this ties in with her work at the Guilds or whether she is just reminiscing about an incident that happened.

Excerpt from "THE CLOCK OF TIME" by Gertrude Ruston.  (page 121)


A Mr Pickering called on Mrs Rischbieth and endeavoured to interest her in a find of tin at Greenbushes and, as usual, I became involved to the extent of typing some correspondence on the matter.

My knowledge of minerals had only been gained from the press since I had arrived in Western Australia, and I was surprised to learn that one of the best deposits of tin had been found in Cornwall, England.

Mr Pickering assured us that the discovery at Greenbushes was of the greatest importance, particularly as it was thought to be over a large area.  Since that time *Greenbushes Tin NL has been established but I have been unable to discover whether or not Mr Pickering was connected with it.

Recently we have all become interested in Greenbuhses Tin NL because it is that company which has discovered what is said to be the world's biggest deposit of tantalum.

The ore body is just outside the town of Greenbushes and is said to have had a value in the ground of around $2 billion.  Tantalite has properties that make it almost irreplaceable for a range of high tehcnological applications including capicitors used in computers, telecommunications and automotive electronics.

Whether of not Mrs Rischbieth took shares in the mining of tin at Greenbushes I have no idea, but iI had no knowledge of sharebroking at that time and certainly no money with which ti make an investment.  How little we know of the importance of the mine at Greenbushes!

It was just another small event in an exciting career, and even to be connected in any way with such a stupendous discovery gave me a thrill."

I knew nothing at all about Greenbushes until I was reading mum's story so checked it out and this is a little of what I discovered: 

"An open pit tin-tantalum-lithium mine is located in the south-west of Western Australia.  The mine has been one of the most intensely studied in Western Australia.  The deposit contains half the world's known reserves of tantalum and is the largest lithium resource in the world.  Tin production ceased at Green bushes in 2007.  Fossicking is not allowed at the mine.

The deposit was discovered by government geologist E.T. Hardman in 1881.  The Bunbury Tin Mining Company was formed to mine the alluvial cassiterite.  Production levvels waxed and waned over the years based on tin prices.  In the early years mining involved screening, sluicing and dredging by small groups of miners.  After 1908, lower profits and yields saw a gradual consolidation of leases.  From this time till 1944, tin mining was sporadic, and conducted with hydraulaic sluices with small scale deep mining.  After the Second World War, the Tin and Strategic Mineral Company Pty Ltd started large scale mining using modern methods.  Due to low prices the company ceased in 1956, and mining was taken over by Greenbushes Tin NL in 1964.  Initially this was by dredges, then from 1972 open pit mining for tin and tantalum.  Commercial spodumene production for lithium started in 1983, but the company ran into difficulties and was purchased by Gwalia Consolidated in 1990, who expanded the mining operation."

I am not sure I learned a lot from that but obviously at some stages it has been of great importance.


  1. Hari OM
    I found this very interesting; am ever amazed at how this planet of ours has provided for all its inhabitants and how the most inventive of them, benefitting as it does, can often overwork its privilege!

    I can understand your mother's comment regarding shares; one either has the acquisitive turn of mind, or not. Having experienced connections with quite important events and people also, I appreciated the comment, too, about knowing that she was in some way part of that enormous place.... YAM xx

  2. I am loving her endless curiosity, and connection to so many things, great and small.

  3. I'm going to read this more fully tomorrow when I am less tired.

  4. This is interesting, I didn't know we had mined tin and lithium in Australia.
    I've only ever heard of the gold mining, the lead and zinc, and of course the gem stones.