The Royal Australian Mint has recently unveiled the 2013 Mining Proof Year Set and 2013 Mining Uncirculated Year Set. These products celebrate the history of Australian mining on 20 Cent and 1 Dollar Coins.
The RAM has released annual sets to represent various industries within Australia. In 2011, the theme was the Wool industry, followed by the Wheat industry in 2012.
When gold was discovered near Bathurst in 1851, the first gold rush in Australia began, which drew migrants from Europe, North America, and China. Mining would have an enormous impact on the country, and today represents a significant primary industry which constitutes more than 5% of Australia’s gross domestic product.
The 1 Dollar coin features a classic scene of a prospector panning for gold with the inscription “Discovery of Gold”. The coin is struck in aluminum bronze with a weight of 9 grams and diameter of 25 mm.
The 20 cent coin was what particularly caught my eye. It presents a partial view of modern mining equipment, which fits neatly with the circular shape of the coin. The words “Australian Mining” and the denomination “20″ appear within the design. Th coin is struck in copper-nickel with a weight of 11.30 grams and diameter of 28.52 mm.
I was curious about the mining equipment depicted, so I did some quick research and found that this is part of a trencher or rotating shovel. A rotating wheel contains buckets which continuously scoop earth and move it onto a conveyor system. Further information and an image of massive version of the digging machine can be found here.
The Royal Australian Mint offers a two coin proof set with a mintage of 25,000 pieces (product page), or a two coin uncirculated set with a mintage of 40,000 (product page). The sets are pricey for non-precious metal coins at AU$55.00 for the proof set and AU$20.00 for the uncirculated set.