Precious Metals

New Zealand gold mining town seeks rejuvenation

New Zealand’s Canvastown hosted its first rush of gold miners in 1864, changing the landscape and financial fabric of the region.

Now, 150 years later, Canvastown, located 31 miles northwest of Blenheim, may experience another gold boom.

Elect Mining in Nelson, New Zealand, has petitioned the nation’s government for resource consent to establish a new mine in the town. The firm has already secured a mining permit through New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals to extract gold from a nearly 300-acre site straddling both sides of Highway 6 in Canvastown. The mining company believes the site holds 3,000 kilograms of gold worth $120 million at current metal prices.

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While the Civil War raged in the United States in 1864, thousands of miners flocked to this Australian region in search of riches. Using pans, knives, shovels, dredging and ore-crushing equipment, they worked tirelessly to unearth the precious metal from the ground.

The miners lived in tents made of canvas, giving the resultant town that grew up around the mining area its name.

Gold was first discovered in the region in 1860 when Elizabeth Catherine Pope found specks of the precious metals while washing clothes in the Wackamarina River, according to an historic plaque posted in town. Extensive quantities of gold weren’t located until April 3 and 4, 1864, triggering the gold rush.

To read the complete story and what the future may hold for Canvastown, visit here.

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