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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70

(6) Chromium Ores

(6) Chromium Ores.

Chromite, or chromic iron, occurs plentifully in the mineral belt of the Nelson district, also at Jackson's Bay, in the Lake Harris Range, at Milford Sound, where a large block of nephrite was found sprinkled with it, and at Moke Creek, Otago. It is found where olivine rocks occur, and in Nelson as a constituent of the peculiarly hard variety of serpentine known as dunite, sometimes forming more than 50 per cent, of the mass. The ore is very rich, averaging over 55 per cent. of chromium oxide. In the Dun Mountain Copper Mining Company's lease a 10 feet band of the ore occurs, and one in the Roding River Company's ground measures over 15 feet in width, and has been proved vertically for 300 or 400 feet.

At one time the yield of chromium oxide was of considerable importance to the colony, the maximum having been reached in 1862 when 3,843 tons valued at £24,719 was exported. Almost immediately after that the industry became extinct, and 1860 was the last year of its existence, so far as export was concerned.*

Altogether 5,666 tons, valued at £37tS67, has been exported, and it is probable that when the demand increases or the nearer supplies have become exhausted that the undoubtedly large deposits existing in New Zealand will become of value.

* On reference to the Geological Survey Reports, 1881, page 7, this information, which derived from the Mines Department Report appears to be hardly correct.