Towns nearby the Capricorn Sapphire mine. The surrounding area has a rich history of gemstone mining starting in the late 1800’s. The mines of Australia have produced more commercial-grade blue sapphire than any other source in history.
Historic Sapphire Mining, Queensland, 1914
The mine is located in the Central Highlands of Queensland. The volcanos in the back ground are where the sapphires originally formed millions of years ago. They have subsequently been transported by large river systems and deposited in the surrounding areas where they are mined today.
View from the Capricon Sapphire mine across the outback.
Sapphire processing plant at the Capricorn Sapphire mine site.
The deposits at Capricorn Sapphire are extracted with bulldozers. The gem gravel is covered by two to eighty feet of overburden, which is scraped away. The top soil which is full of nutrients and dormant native seeds is retained separately so when the mining areas are rehabilitated this soil can be replaced in its original position to allow speedy regeneration. Australia has strict environmental laws that require the reclamation of mined areas.
Stunning yellow sapphire from the area. The central Queensland gem fields are known for yellow and green sapphires in addition to large quantities of traditional blue sapphires .