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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 71

Part III.—Coal-Minng

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Part III.—Coal-Minng.

Richly as the colony of New Zealand has been endowed with metalliferous ores, and plentiful as the natural stores of hydraulic power undoubtedly are, a great want would have existed had the deposits of mineral fuel been either deficient in quantity or quality, or so situated as to be approximately inaccessible. This latter point is not perhaps of so great importance, for while poor quality and small quantity are defects which can never be overcome, means of transport can always be devised. And this is, in the present case, fortunate, for while the coal-fields near the populated districts contain usually the inferior class of fuel, via., the pitch coals, brown coals, and lignites, the true coals are found only on the inhospitable west coast of the South Island, to which reference has already, in a former portion of this paper, been made. The dangerous rivers and rough topography of this locality have greatly retarded progress, even in the case of metalliferous mining (where such comparatively small quantities of material have usually to be dealt with); and in the case of coal-mining (where a great bulk must be moved to render the industry profitable), the hindrance has been even greater. Still, notwithstanding the great natural obstacles, and in spite of the cheapness of imported supplies, the coals of New Zealand are slowly but surely making their way, and establishing in the colony a healthy, steady trade, not subject to the violent fluctuations and vicissitudes of gold-mining, but growing and strengthening year by year,

In this paper the following order will be observed:—
1.—Geology and distribution.
2.—General notes on the coal-fields.
(1)Auckland coal-fields. North Island.
(2)Mokau coal-fields. North Island.
(3)Picton coal-field. South Island.
(4)Collingwood and Takaka coal-fields. South Island.
(5)West Coast coal-fields. South Island.
(6)Canterbury coal-fields. South Island.
(7)Otago coal-fields. South Island.
(8)Southland coal-fields. South Island.
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3.—Methods of working.
7.—Total consumption, output, imports and exports, etc.
8..—Quantity of existing coal.
9.—Wages, strikes, benefit chubs, condition of the minera, etc.