Mines Minister Kevin Minson today launched the Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame project at a function held at the Perth Mint.
Mr Minson said the multi-million dollar hall of fame would be located in Kalgoorlie and likely to be opened in the year 2001.
"The hall of fame will be a national monument and it is fitting that Kalgoorlie has been chosen as its home as it is not only the scene of the nation's last major goldrush in the 1890s but is the hub of one of the richest mineral provinces in the world," he said.
"It is a coup for Western Australia as most of the nation's halls of fame, such as the Stockman's Hall of Fame, are located in the Eastern States."
The Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame will help promote and preserve the nation's mining heritage and the history of its heroes and heroines who left their mark throughout the industry.
Mr Minson praised the courage of the early prospectors who endured incredible hardship in their search for the nation's hidden mineral wealth.
"In Western Australian, place names such as Siberia, Lake Disappointment and Mt Heartbreak give us some idea of the hardship they faced," he said.
"Cemeteries in early mining towns vividly detail how fragile life was in those days. Headstones often mark the graves of entire families who died from diseases we do not have to contend with today.
"The modern prospector works with the aid of maps and satellite-linked global positioning systems and underground miners operate jumbo drills and other highly sophisticated and automated machinery.
"Mining towns have access to modern day health, education and other community facilities.
"In days gone by prospectors eked out a meagre and precarious existence, driven on by the dream of striking it rich.
"Those are the people whose achievements and disappointments will be depicted by the hall of fame and whose efforts help produce the nation's wealth."
Mr Minson said the efforts of Western Australia's early prospectors had resulted in the State becoming the most productive and diversified mineral region in Australia.
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