Cover image for The Mount Lyell Mining & Railway Company
The Mount Lyell Mining & Railway Company
Agency Number:
Start Date:
01 Jan 1884
End Date:
20 Feb 1995
In 1883 three gold diggers, Mick and Bill McDonough and Steve Karlson pegged out 50 acres of land in the Chamouni Valley, later know as the Linda Valley. This included the large Ironstone outcrop which is known as the Iron Blow. In 1888 F Henry, J Crotty and W Dixon, Mick and Bill McDonough and Steve Karlson formed the Mount Lyell Gold Mining Company (a Launceston company) which developed the Iron Blow. An 8-head stamp battery was erected, but recoveries were poor. In 1892 two Adelaide financiers, Kelly and Orr, realising that a fortune in copper was being washed down the sluice boxes, bought the mine and formed the Mount Lyell Mining Company. Following internal fighting James Crotty left the company and formed the North Lyell Copper Company. 
In 1893 with a view to building a railway to Strahan the Mt Lyell Company was liquidated and the Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company (MLMRC) was formed and incorporated on 29 Mar 1893. In 1895 Robert Sticht arrived as chief metallurgist and perfected pyritic smelting. By 1901 the new township of Queenstown was flourishing, and Sticht had 11 blast furnaces working in the smelting. 
In 1903 due to the failure of the furnaces and the death of James Crotty the North Lyell Copper Company amalgamated with the Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company. In 1914 the Company built its own hydro-electric power scheme. In 1922 the Iron Blow, now a vast open cut, was phased out, leaving underground workings to supply the ore. Its copper contained many impurities, and from 1928 further refining by electrolysis produced copper 99.8 percent pure. From 1934 to 1972 the West Lyell mine produced 47 million tons of copper ore. 
Economic problems saw the closure of the refinery in 1964, and the smelters in 1969. By mid 1981 Mount Lyell shares were not trading under the company name, there was no board representing the company and it was wholly owned by the Renison Goldfields Consolidated. In 1994 the mine closed for twelve months, until taken over by West Australian Mining Company, Gold Mines of Australia and the mine was renamed Copper Mines of Tasmania. After several years of low copper prices making the operation no longer viable the mine was sold to an Indian Company, Twin Star Holdings, a family company of Stirlite Industries.
Information Sources: ;;;;Peaks of Lyell by Geoffrey Blainey
Functions Performed:
Tasmanian businesses
Series Created By Agency:
NS3245 Photographs01 Jan 1884

NS1711 The Mount Lyell Mining & Railway Co - Company Records01 Jan 188420 Feb 1995

NS726 Correspondence, Maps, Plans and associated Records of the Company01 Jan 189331 Dec 1947

NS3259 Annual and Half Yearly Reports31 Jan 189331 Dec 1993

NS2888 Linen Plans Nos 12 - 808801 Jan 189531 Dec 1950

NS6279 Letterbook03 Dec 189530 Jun 1905

NS6275 Diaries of Engineer for Railways01 Jan 189617 May 1955

NS547 Letterbooks, Miscellaneous Records and Photographs relating Mainly to the Mt Lyell Railway07 Jul 189931 Dec 1940

NS3289 Photo Album of Views of Early Mount Lyell01 Jan 190031 Dec 1909

NS6280 Work Books01 Jan 190431 Dec 1911

NS3310 Correspondence Regarding Mount Lyell Exploration Into Other Mines05 Feb 190425 Sep 1909

NS3260 Mount Lyell Mining Company Acquisition of Leases and Testing of Tin Deposits in the Blue Tier20 Feb 190511 Jun 1909

NS4070 Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company - E Series Plans01 Jan 190731 Dec 1983

NS3296 Correspondence, Minutes and associated Papers Regarding Industrial Issues01 Nov 190931 Dec 1994

NS4531 Lake Margaret Power Development - Tender Documents01 Jan 191231 Dec 1916

NS3237 Photographs Taken Following the North Lyell Fire in October 191212 Oct 191230 Dec 1912

NS3236 Reports, Statements, Evidence, Correspondence and associated Papers relating to the North Lyell Fire / Disaster12 Oct 191231 Dec 1913

NS3581 Reports, Correspondence re West Coast Mines21 Jan 191330 Sep 1925

NS3312 Correspondence by Russell Murray, Chairman Tasmanian Branch of Australian Mines and Metals Association12 Feb 192309 May 1944

NS3313 Head Office Industrial Letterbooks21 Nov 192408 Jun 1971

NS3562 Index to Plans and Drawings Housed in Packets01 Jan 193031 Dec 1975

NS3561 Plans and Drawings Housed in Packets01 Jan 193031 Dec 1975

NS3287 Annual Panorama of West Lyell Open Cut01 Sep 193530 Sep 1954

NS4428 Coloured Photographs01 Jan 196031 Dec 1980

NS4523 Films01 Jan 196031 Dec 1971

NS4515 Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company - A4 Series Plans01 Jan 196031 Dec 1970

NS4519 Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company - Ug Series Plans01 Jan 196131 Dec 1984

NS3357 Reports relating to Company Activities01 Jan 196131 Dec 1991

NS3924 Board Minutes and Papers01 Jul 196631 Dec 1995

NS3286 Publications16 Aug 196631 Mar 1993

NS4520 Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company - Ss Series Plans01 Jan 196731 Dec 1973

NS4517 Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company - Se Series Plans01 Jan 196831 Dec 1972

NS4516 Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company - A3 Series Plans01 Jan 197431 Dec 1992

NS4518 Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company - Cp Series Plans01 Jan 197831 Dec 1984

NS5102 Mount Lyell Employees Super Annuation Plan - Minutes of Meetings01 Mar 199020 Feb 1995