Broken Hill Minerals

The name ‘Broken Hill’ came from the ragged ridge of black rocks above the sulfide ore. Mining started on the ridge in 1883 and soon uncovered immense riches of silver, lead and zinc. The wealth generated from the mining of this ore-body has contributed significantly to Australia’s economy. 

The rich Broken Hill ore-body began as layers of metal sulfide sludge deposited on the ocean floor about 1700 million years ago. Immense movements of the Earth’s crust then squeezed, folded and overturned the layers and the enclosing rocks.  Recrystallisation of the ore led to many complex changes in the minerals.

During and after periods of metamorphism, hot solutions moved through fractures and faults that cut the Broken Hill ore layers redistributing elements such as manganese, iron and silver. The many beautiful and unusual minerals that crystallised in these open spaces are much prized by mineral collectors.

The ore at Broken Hill contains a great diversity of minerals. The main ore-body contains sulfide minerals rich in lead, zinc and silver, but there are about 300 more minerals formed by hydrothermal action and weathering. About 20 of these were new to science when they were discovered.