Silver Spray Tunnel
Location: Just outside Zeehan along Spray Tunnel Road, past the Zeehan Golf Course | Google Maps Reference
Key facts about this geosite:
• The site includes a 100 metre long, abandoned railway tunnel
• The site has a rich history and was worked during a mining peak when Zeehan was known as The Silver City’ during the late 1800’s
Geosite Description: In this area a number of Silver – Lead – Zinc – Antimony mines were in operation on both sides of the ridge, some can be seen on the roadsides, many more are hidden in the bush. The mines exploited Late Devonian vein mineralisation in Oonah Group (Late Precambrian) sandstones and shales, which host galena (lead sulphide) – sphalerite (zinc sulphide) – siderite (iron carbonate) veins. The miners were mostly interested in silver and lead at the time, and many deposits were silver rich near the surface. Near surface mineralization can include interesting secondary minerals such as pyromorphite (a lead phosphate).
A miner/prospector E. J. Freeman first developed the sites as the Silver Spray Mining Co. in 1889, shortly after another prospector, Frank Long from Campbelltown, found the first lead-zinc mineralisation in the area. The Frank Long memorial is a picnic spot on the mine remnants near his discovery (the New Mt Zeehan Mine) in Pea Soup Creek, just north of the town centre. The Silver Spray lease was taken over a few years later by the British owned Mount Zeehan Silver-Lead Mines, who also owned the Argent Mine which operated to the North. At the time 370 leases were pegged but few became successful mines. Most of these mines were not profitable due to the narrow, discontinuous and irregular nature of most of the lodes, plus the high costs associated with bringing in mining equipment and extracting and transporting the ore, but an extensive network of narrow tramlines throughout the area were instrumental in assisting them all (Haberle, 2013).