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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69



The output from the coal mines of the colony is rapidly increasing, and from the fact that there is in the Middle Island a large quantity of the best bituminous steam coal that is known to exist south of the Equator, in the close vicinity of harbours capable of accommodating steam colliers of 500 tons burthen and upwards, a well-founded hope exists that the future of coal mining in New Zealand will be the source of great wealth to the whole community. Time is the chief factor in all modern mercantile transactions, and the steamer that makes the fastest passage as a rule, most other things being equal, is the greatest favourite. The quickest passage most people consider the best. As with the passenger, so with the owner. A day or two saved in an ocean passage means a considerable saving in the cost of the voyage. The best coal for raising steam is a great consideration both with the owner and master, as the shorter time the steamer is on the water the risk as welly the expense of running is lessened. It is only a matter of time when most of the coal for the British navy used south of the Equator will be drawn from New Zealand; ana that the Southern Imperial coaling stations will also be largely supplied from the same source, seems equally certain, as the engineers of steamers esteem the bituminous coal on the West Coast of the Middle Island 20 per cent better than the best New South Wales coal for steam purposes. Until petroleum takes the place of coal the country that has the largest supply of steam coal of the best quality convenient to harbours can hardly fail of being "rich beyond the dreams of avarice" in the near future. Of this bituminous coal of superior quality the Mount Rochfort mine, in Nelson, alone contains 140,000,000 tons.

Year. Output Tons. Export Tons. Value of Export.
1881 337,262 6,849 £5,610
1882 378,272 4,520 2,380
1883 421,764 7,952 4,879
1884 480,831 7,020 4,461
1885 511,063 50,248 51,257
1886 534,353 47,037 52,133
1887 558,620 44,312 44,083
1888 613,895 69,040 61,367