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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30

V. Mineral Wealth

V. Mineral Wealth.

The mineral wealth of New Zealand is very great. Mention has already been made of the gold-diggings in various parts of the country. These have proved very valuable, the yield up to this time being equal to £25,000,000 sterling, and they are far from being exhausted. Dr Hector, Director of the Geological Survey in New Zealand, is of opinion that as yet the surface has only been "scratched." The area in the South Island in which gold is found may be about 15,000 square miles, stretching through Otago and Westland into the province of Nelson. In the North Island the area is very much less, gold in any paying quantity having as yet been found only in the Thames and Coromandel districts. In the South Island it is generally found in alluvial diggings, in the North in quartz rock, from which it needs to be extracted by quartz-crushing machinery set up by joint-stock companies.

Silver has been found in various places, but little can be said of the quantity as yet. Tin has also been recently discovered.

Sulphur exists in considerable quantities in several parts of North Island, chiefly near Rotorua hot-lakes, and on White Island in the Bay of Plenty. Small quantities of manganese, chrome, mercury, and lead are also found, chiefly in the South Island. Iron seems to be abundant in several parts of the colony. On the west coast of both islands there is a very great amount of iron-sand, which is convertible into steel of the best quality.

The supply of coal is immense over the greater part of New Zealand, but the mines have been worked in comparatively few places. It is of various qualities, and has been much used at the gold-fields, in the numerous coast-steamers, &c. It is also finding its way into domestic use, especially in Otago, although the greater portion of coal so used comes from Newcastle in New South Wales. No doubt, when a larger supply of the better class of coals is obtained, through more abundant labour and deeper and more skilful mining, and from the mines being ren- page 17 dered more accessible by roads and railways, New Zealand will be able to supply not only itself, but will aid in supplying other lands with this most useful of all minerals.

Limestone and building-stone are found in many localities. Marble and granite of various colours and qualities are found chiefly on the west coast of the South Island. In Auckland, many of the buildings are of scoria from Mount Eden, an extinct volcano; but limestone for building and farming purposes is within easy distance by boat, or road, or railway. The Oamaru white stone is quite celebrated, and has been exported in large quantities to different parts of New Zealand, and even to Melbourne. It is used for monumental and ornamental work of all kinds. Cement of good quality can be made from cement stones and the volcanic tufas that are found in different parts of both islands.