On the edge of the town of Burra in the mid-north of South Australia sits the Burra Burra Mine. The colour of the water in this old mine pit is quite stunning. The greenish colour which changes throughout the year is believed to be caused by a scattering of light caused by minute crystals in the water.
The Burra metalliferous ore (containing metal) mine originally opened by the South Australian Mining Association had a number of key periods during its operating life. Firstly as an underground mine from 1845 to 1867 (depth 183 metres), then the revolutionary concept of open cut mining came into play from 1870 until 1877 when the mine closed (depth 37 metres). During that time 50,000 tonnes of copper was extracted from 700,000 tonnes of ore. The mining operation proved to be unprofitable during this period.
The open cut mine was reopened in 1971 and deepened to 100 metres. Operations ceased again in 1981 with 24,000 tonnes of copper extracted from two million tonnes of ore. Groundwater was always an issue with the operation of the mine and the water you see today is at the natural level of about 50 metres deep.