The University of Queensland Experimental Mine is located at Indooroopilly on Isles Rd some 2 km from the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre. It is situated on a moderately steep slope bordering Witton Creek some 200m from the Brisbane River. The Julius Kruttschnitt Minerals Research Centre (JKMRC), now part of the UQ Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI), shares surface infrastructure at the Experimental Mine.
The site has a mining history dating back to 1918 when G.Olsen and PJ Madden discovered silver/lead mineralisation at Finney’s Hill. It was operated between 1919 and 1929, and produced some 227,343 ozs. of silver and 1,796 tons of lead. Only silver-lead ore was mined, although zinc bearing ore shoots were located and investigated. Underground mining was conducted using filled square set stoping. A small open pit mine was developed in the latter years of the mine (1925-29) into the top of the earlier underground workings to recover remaining shallow silver-lead ore reserves.
Operations at the mine ceased in 1929 and all plant and equipment was sold. The mine was left derelict until the University secured a lease over the site in 1951 to enable the mine to be used by the Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering for teaching and research activities. When the Department first inspected the mine, adits (horizontal access drives) and shafts were blocked by fallen ground and collapsed timbers. The collars of both shafts were badly collapsed and both adits were seriously collapsed. Work began in the latter half of 1951 to rehabilitate the workings. Students mostly completed this work with the additional assistance of Burmese workers assigned to the mine under the Colombo plan. This work included the construction of the Inclined shaft as an additional walking and hoisting facility.
The UQ Experimental Mine is a unique teaching, research and training facility. Due to increased undergraduate student numbers, the UQ Experimental Mine is often the only underground mine that students will visit during their undergraduate program. The mine has also provided a ready source of topics for 4th Year Mining Research Theses over the years and, in the past, has been used for Mining Production Engineering practicals and geological and structural mapping exercises by Earth Sciences students from the University, QUT and University of Southern Queensland. The mine is also used as a testing site for research projects being conducted by the Division of Mining Engineering, CRCMining to developing fibre-optic airflow sensors and through-the-ground emergency communication systems and more recently the SMI has expressed interest in using the mine to conduct fire research. It has also been used as a testing ground for research projects being undertaken by the CSIRO and for training exercises by the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and State Emergency Service.
The UQ Experimental Mine is currently closed to the public.
A major redevelopment of the mine is currently in progress which will feature interactive exhibits in the mine for educational purposes.
An isometric view of the UQ Experimental Mine.