Charters Towers, Venus Battery

The Venus gold battery is a few minutes out of Charters Towers. It commenced crushing gold in 1872 and only stopped operating in 1971. It is the best preserved battery of its kind left. Although it rains throughout our tour and we all get thoroughly soaked the fascination of battery keeps us enthralled. I had wrongfully presumed that the quartz was crushed and that was that. But there is so much more to the process. The Quartz is crushed to the size of sand. Mercury is added then heated to extract the gold. When the mines reached below the water table then other minerals came into play and had to be extracted. The weight of each ore shipment was critical and between each crushing the entire plant had to be thoroughly cleaned to ensure that all ore was accounted for. In later years when the cyanide extraction process was developed battery owners were able to revisit their tailings and extract even more gold at a total profit to themselves. The battery was integral to the gold mining process and one would imagine an extremely profitable service.

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