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Moonta is one of the historic Copper Triangle towns that include Kadina and Wallaroo at the northern end of the Yorke Peninsula. Copper was discovered in the area by a shepherd in 1861 and in over sixty years of operation the copper mines at Moonta are estimated to have yielded in excess of 170 000 tonnes of ore. During its heyday in the 1860's and 70's, Moonta was a bustling town with a population of 12 000 people.
Today, much of the mining heritage remains for visitors to explore. The Moonta Mines Museum is located in the old school, with exhibitions on the life of a miner; an old miner's cottage is preserved, which dates from 1870; the tourist train takes trips through the mines heritage area, and visitors may also drive through the Moonta Mines State Heritage Area. For a look at a more modern mine, the Wheal Hughes Copper Mine (which was operational from the 1980's until 1993) is also open for tours.