The goldmining era is by no means at an end in Otago. Sites of old gold rushes such as the Clutha and Cardrona River beds are offering up new riches to mining companies. As new technologies are developed former gold mining areas are being re-opened. In the early 1990s, alluvial deposits at Island Block (near Millers Flat), and in the late 1990s at Glenore (near Milton) were reworked by progressive excavating and gold recovery.
Following these operations the land has been restored to farm land, with improved soil drainage and better pastures, while renewed mining is now underway on the Earnscleugh Flats alongside the historic Earnscleugh Tailings.
Part of the old township of Cromwell (which had never before been mined as it was part of the town) was worked in the early 1990s before the site went under the waters of the new Lake Dunstan in 1993. As well as these larger, commercial operations, many gold prospectors and miners continue to operate on a smaller scale on the gold-bearing rivers of Otago.
Modern mining technology is being used elsewhere in Otago. The largest scale operation near Macraes Flat (see map) has already converted Round Hill into a huge sludge pond and the mining operation has been extended south-eastwards across Macraes Road parallel to Golden Bar Road. The mine has a throughput of 3 million tonnes of ore each year and produces more than 100,000 ounces (or nearly 3,000kg) of gold per annum.
Why not try your hand at winning a part of Otago’s golden treasure? There are several places where you can pan for gold.
For further information, contact the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust
PO Box 91
Phone +64 3 445 0111
To send an email, please click here