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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 40


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The history of mineral mining in this Province is short and easily told. Very little has been done in the way of systematic mining except for gold and coals—these two branches are in a fair way of development. The discovery of a copper lode in the Wakatipu District in 1863 was the first find of importance; since then many valuable ores have been found, comprising nearly all the ores of commercial importance. It is quite evident that a mineral bearing bed of schist stretches from the east to the west coast of Otago, and at various places all the way from Taieri Mouth, where manganese occurs, to Dusky and Milford Sounds, where copper is found, there are, at irregular distances, lodes of various ores. Up to the present time the principal substances of the ores or the metals which have been found are aluminum, antimony, chrome, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, silver, and tungsten, and if we add graphite, petroleum shale, and marble, these may be said to be all the substances of commercial value that have been found in quantity. There are a vast number of elementary bodies that if known of in Europe would soon be operated upon—such as arsenic and sulphur—both of which occur plentifully in our pyrites lodes. Business men know that such ores as cinnabar, copper, antimony, and galena, are marketable commodities, and if it can be shown that they exist in payable quantities, their development is only a matter of time. But we have in this Province a large, true, and well defined lode of scheelite, the very name of which is almost unknown in New Zealand, except to scientists, and it is with the object of drawing attention to it that this paper is written. Besides being a new and interesting subject, I hope to be able to show and to prove that scheelite is not only of commercial value, but that it will open a large field of profitable industrial application. In discussing the subject technical and scientific phraseology cannot altogether be dispensed with, but will be avoided as much as possible.