Mintabie Opal is mined in Mintabie, South Australia and is located around 180 kilometers south of the Northern Territory boundary and roughly 300 kilometers north of Coober Pedy. The South Australian mine is famous for consistently producing good Crystal Opal with unique fire and colour contrasts.These Mintabie Crystal Opals also make beautiful triplets. Opalised fossils are also found in this area.
The geology of the Opal, which bears horizons at Mintabie, is totally different from the other Australian opal areas. Though Mintabie is still with the edge of the Great Artesian Basin, the opal is usually discovered in a more consolidated bed lying at the Lower Cretaceous.
The Mintabie Opal is usually in good quality. The Opal ranges from opaque white to nearly black, much being only potch with sketches of colour. Aborigines appear to be the first to discover opal at Mintabie trading a semi-black class of opal that most possibly was Mintabie Opal. During the 1980’s Mintabie was the biggest producer of opal by value.
Mining at Mintabie is quite difficult as the host rock is Ordovician older than the Cretaceous rock of older periods. Miners tend to use heavy bulldozers though the opal has advantages with buyers as the opal resists scratching more than other Australian opals. It is an exclusive field in that the city and opal fields are usually situated on freehold Aboriginal territory and temperatures in such area ranges below zero up to the 40.
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