It’s been 50 years since the official re-opening of the CSA Mine.
Mining in Cobar first began in 1870 when the first mining leases in the Cobar mineral district were granted.
According to the ‘Cobar Copper Centenary 1869-1969’ book, the CSA Development Syndicate was formed in 1905 and operations commenced.
Records are sketchy but a report written by a NSW Government geologist mentions that in 1906 the CSA Mine employed 50 hands and production was only 3,800 tons of ore.
The mines of Great Cobar, New Cobar, Chesney, Occidental and CSA became well established and continued mining over a wide area until 1919.
However, due to low copper prices, low grades of ore, rising costs, a shortage of water and metallurgical difficulties, each mine closed down.
Between 1905 and 1920, CSA Mine produced 112,000 tons of ore before fire closed the mine in 1920. The fire burnt for 16 years.
In May 1957, Cobar Mines Pty Ltd and Cobar South Pty Ltd purchased the leases.
In October 1961, it was decided to develop the CSA Mine and shaft sinking commenced.
Information taken from a special feature in the Cobar Age Thursday October 6, 1966 edition reports the official opening of the CSA Mine was to occur on October 8, 1966.
The mine was officially opened by the Hon TL Lewis MLA, Minister for Lands and Minister for Mines and was open to the public.
Cobar Shire President at the time, Cr William ‘Bill’ Brennan said the opening was a significant event in Cobar’s history
“The official opening of the CSA Mine by Cobar Mines Pty Ltd on October 8 is a matter of very great significance and importance for the people of Cobar and NSW, Cobar once again becomes a major copper producer,” Mr Brennan said.
He credits mining in Cobar as the major factor in improvements in the town, including transmitted electricity; the water pipe line from Nyngan to Cobar; the construction of over 300 new houses; a new high school; new banks; nurses quarters; new shops; motels; an air service; sealed streets and improved sporting facilities.
The opening was also used as an opportunity for the official opening of the Electricity Commissions 132 KV power line from Dubbo and the terminal substation.
The Electricity Commission of NSW played an important part in the re-introduction of copper mining in Cobar with a 132,000 volt transmission line from Dubbo to Cobar and a new substation established near the mine.
In 1957, Cobar Mines completed extensive regional exploration and deep diamond drilling and decided to proceed with the development and mining of the CSA Mine orebody.
An operation for mining and concentrating of copper ore at a minimum rate of 330,000 tonnes per year was designed.
The initial construction plans were expected to be completed by July, 1965.