Defunct copper mine at Burra, South Australia. Copper was discovered at Burra by shepherds in 1845 and by the end of the decade it had its own mine, smelters and a population of 5000 people. Burra mine was world famous for the richness of its copper ores and for the first ten years of its life was the largest mine in Australia. Wealth from the mine made fortunes for many of its original shareholders and its discovery marked the beginning of a period of unprecedented growth and prosperity for South Australia. At first, all mining took place under-ground. Open cut operation began in 1870 in an attempt to extract lower grade ore profitably, however low copper prices forced the mine closure in 1877.
The mine remained abandoned for nearly a century until open cut mining started again in 1971 and continued until exhaustion of ore in 1981. It is now a major tourist attraction in the area. [link]