» Industry Sectors » Gold Mining

Gold Mining

In August 1862 Hartley and Reilly reported their discovery of gold in the Cromwell gorge and within a few days the gold rush to Central Otago began. From then until 1908 gold mining was the chief industry of the district. Initially gold was recovered with pan and cradle but this was soon replaced by dredging and sluicing. There are very few parts of Central Otago where some form of mining activity didn’t occur, and the remnants of towns and heavy equipment such as huge stamper batteries are a testament to the industry of the miners.

At the turn of the 20th Century dredging was at its peak but it then suffered a gradual decline until 1963 when the last dredge ceased operation.

The interest in gold mining has never totally gone away, and with changing extraction technologies and cyclical surges in the price of gold as well as exchange rate fluctuations there are still commercial operations being considered.
Gold Mining - Photography by Matthew Sole

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