Quarrying & Mining Magazine
Mining

Bringing Waiuta’s mining focus back to life

Waiuta, the town at the top of the West Coast’s richest gold mine, has a new lease of life after growing from the region’s last great gold discovery, back in 1905.

A new book, called Hard Won Gold – Stories from Waiuta and the Reefton Goldfield, has been published with a focus on how the very tricky deposits of the goldfield yielded up huge riches during the past century, through a series of clever entrepreneurs, innovations, and hard-working miners and their families.

Today, the town site is almost empty of buildings but still full of memories and history. Within its forest-surrounded setting, many mining relics remain from the days when hundreds worked there, and a few of the town’s original buildings still stand, including the former police station, three cottages and the old barber shop.

Last year Tasman Mining signed an agreement with OceanaGold Corporation for the future development of the high-grade Blackwater gold deposit near Reefton.

Under this agreement, OceanaGold is supporting the early stages of the project establishment through seed financing for the development of an underground decline to the base of the historic workings at Blackwater. The deposit was continuously mined successfully from 1908-1951 and produced approximately 700,000 ounces at a recovered grade averaging 16g/t gold.

Once the underground access is completed, Tasman Mining will establish underground drill chambers and undertake a drilling programme to convert the majority of the current Mineral Resources to the Indicated JORC category to support a mining decision.

A Preliminary Economic Assessment completed by OceanaGold on Blackwater in 2014 concluded development of the project would produce 570,000 ounces over an initial 10 year mine life, averaging 50-60,000 ounces of annual production at an all-in sustaining cost of US$594 per ounce.

Under the terms of the Agreement, Tasman Mining has the exclusive right to purchase Blackwater from OceanaGold upon Tasman making a decision to develop the mine.

Meanwhile, a new book, called Hard Won Gold – Stories from Waiuta and the Reefton Goldfield, has been published with a focus on how the very tricky deposits of the goldfield yielded up huge riches during the past century, through a series of clever entrepreneurs, innovations, and hard-working miners and their families.

And why not visit the area yourself?

Appointments can be made for a tour of Waiuta, to bring Waiuta and its mining history alive. Contact Friends of Waiuta Inc, email: waiuta1951@gmail.com.

If you explore on your own, Waiuta offers a range of walks around the town’s streets and nearby mine and battery sites. Waiuta is also the starting point for the Reefton Goldfields Journey that can take you to such legendary mining centres as Big River, Golden Lead, Murray Creek and Kirwans Hill.

You can stay overnight in the fully equipped Waiuta Lodge. Booking office for Waiuta Lodge, phone 03 731 1895, or email: paparoavc@doc.govt.nz 

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