Lambina Opal Fields

Lambina Opalfield is 58km northeast of the town of Marla, 90km northeast of Mintabie Opalfield, and 10km south of Lambina Homestead. Access to this remote area is either from the Stuart Highway eastwards along the road to Granite Downs and Lambina, and then along the old Oodnadatta Road that leaves this road ~60km east of Granite Downs and 5km south of Lambina Homestead, or east from Marla 11km then northeast to Broken Leg diggings and generally northwards to Lambina Opalfield. The latter access is the preferred route taken by miners. Although first discovered in the late 1920's going into the depression years, very little work was done here until the late 1980's when some good finds were made at the Seven Waterholes diggings. Good strikes of high quality stones in 1996 caused a rush to the field which is 100 km northeast of Mintabie on the eastern side of the Stuart Highway. Some 300 claims were pegged, however, before many of these could be processed, the Wik native title decision halted any new mining. In December 1997, miners were informed that a native title claim would be lodged over the greater Mintabie area encompassing Lambina. Since then negotiations between miners and native title holders have enabled mining to continue. When hypothesising the formation of opal at Lambina, the author emphasises the possible influence of Tertiary palaeochannels as conduits for water movement, and hence silica movement, and the deposition of opal in immediately adjacent areas.

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