The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62
Important as are the agricultural and grazing products, yet the future of the colony is intimately bound up with mining interests. The mineral resources are very great. In the past these have had a most important influence on the development and progress of the colony. Gold to the value of £47,483,117 was obtained prior to the 31st December, 1891. The gold produce in 1891 was of the value of £1,007,488. In the earlier years gold was obtained from alluvial diggings, but at the present time is largely taken from gold-bearing quartz, which is distributed widely through several parts of the colony, and thus there is a much better prospect for the permanency of this industry than was afforded by the alluvial diggings. The amount of silver extracted to the end of 1891 only amounted to £140,148, but recent discoveries of ore give promise of large production in the future. No iron ores are at present worked, although almost every known variety of iron ore has been discovered in the country, the workings being limited to the black sands which occur plentifully on the coasts, the best known deposits being at Taranaki.
Several companies have been formed both in England and the colong to manufacture steel direct from this ironsand. They have not, however, succeeded; but a partial success was obtained by smelting in furnaces bricks formed of the ore with calcareous clay and carbonaceous matter, and recently the sand has been treated by a continuous process that produces puddled blooms. It remains to be proved, however, if it can be profitably treated in large quantities by this or any other process. Of other minerals the product to the end of 1891 amounted to £9,810,255, of which Kauri-gum yielded £5,831,748, and coal, with coke, £8,758,947.page 41
The following gives the production of precious metals and minerals during the year 1891:—
The approximate total output of the coal mines to the 31st December, 1891, amounted to 7,131,986 tons. Extensive coalfields exist in the colony, coal being found in various parts, and mines are worked in the provincial districts of Auckland, Nelson, Canterbury, and Otago. The abundant coal supply, added to the good water supply and temperate climate, render New Zealand suitable in every way to become the manufacturing centre of the Pacific. It will be noted from the table of industries given later in this paper that a considerable manufacturing trade is growing up in the colony.
The bituminous coal is of a very superior kind, being equal to, if not better than, the best descriptions used in any part of the world. It is especially valuable for the manufacture of gas, and is eagerly sought for gas works and iron foundries, even at an advance of 10 to 20 per cent, on the price of any other coal. Engineers of local steamers esteem it 20 per cent, better than the best New South Wales coal for steam purposes. The valuable character of this coal for steam purposes was shown when H.M.S. Calliope was, on account of using it, enabled to weather the hurricane at Samoa, which was so disastrous to vessels of other nations, and escape to sea. Sir James Hector has recently estimated the various coal-fields in the colony to contain, on the whole, 444,000,000 tons; but the incompleteness of the surveys necessarily makes the estimate a very rough, and very insufficient one.
Petroleum oils of good quality have been found at Sugar-loaves rocks, a short distance from the mainland near New Plymouth, at Waipaoa, near Poverty Bay, and at Manutahi, page 42 Waiapu, East Cape. The attempts made at Waipaoa to secure oil in marketable quantities have been so far unsuccessful, and it is still uncertain whether better results will be obtained from the borings now in operation at the Sugarloaves, Taranaki.