The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 8 (November 1, 1937)
How many city residents, reading with interest the fact that a rich strike of gold has been made at X, or that gold has attained its peak price, know just how that gleaming metal is won from the earth? Even many folk who tour through the gold districts know little of the process of gold-mining.
This article deals exclusively with mining in Otago Central. There are several rich fields in Central Otago, Naseby, Kyeburn Diggings, and Cromwell being centres of great activity. Where a company has the working, the claim is attacked by means of a dredge. The individual miner, however, has not the advantage of this large scale apparatus. He has the choice of three methods, his choice depending largely upon the nature of his claim, the amount of water he has at his disposal, and the general topography of the locality. He may sluice, cradle, or work with the shovel.
Let us examine each method in turn, taking first the shovel-method. This is the “hard-labour” method, and is used in flat areas. The necessary apparatus and requirements are: a “box,” shovel (and pick, sometimes), prospecting dish, and, last, water, without which the miner could not work. Before proceeding to describe the process, let me sketch the “box” and the prospecting dish. This latter is the miners' inseparable companion. The dish is an ordinary tin dish, very strongly made. The edge is rolled, and, an inch below the edge, for half the circumference, on the innerside, is a groove in the dish. The object of this will be revealed when we take a prospect (below).