Processing gold-bearing quartz ore in the early twentieth century: an illustrated case history from the Snowy River battery, Waiuta, New Zealand


Authors: Simon Nathan and L. Wright
Year: 2015
Format: e-Book (link to free PDF below)
Series: GSNZ Miscellaneous Publication
Series volume: 142
ISBN: 978-1-877480-48-5
ISSN (online): 2230-4495

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The Snowy River battery near Waiuta, New Zealand, processed gold-bearing quartz ore from the nearby Blackwater mine between 1908 and 1938. Incorporating the latest technology when built in 1908, it was a typical, early 20th century processing plant. This case study of how gold was extracted from the ore is illustrated by a sequence of photographs taken by Joseph Divis in early 1931.

Roasting of the ore concentrates after 1924 had the unanticipated consequence of contaminating part of the area around the battery with arsenic, which persists in the soil today. In 2015 plans are underway to remediate the most badly contaminated site.