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The first crushing at Waiorongomai, November 1883

By the time the battery was ready to crush the first batches of ore, expectations were high – too high. On 1 November 1883, when treatment started, suspicions of unethical conduct were raised by its being done in secrecy, suspicions raised even higher when, unexpectedly, the amalgam was squeezed in cold rather than hot water, as was usual. This method of treatment lowered the expected yield, causing much discontent, and the crushing proved that the ore in some mines expected to be profitable was unpayable. Although the outcome was generally disappointing, some retained hope for the future. But share prices soon declining significantly, a fall encouraged by suspicions of share market manipulation, insider trading, and speculation. Not being a poor man’s field because it contained so much low-grade ore with little possibility of discovering bonanzas, more prospecting and more crushing power was required. After such a long time waiting for large-scale crushing, the circumstances and results of the first treatment turned out to be a very bad start for the field, which for many would never overcome its bad reputation.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Te Aroha Mining District Working Papers
Hart, P. (2016). The first crushing at Waiorongomai, November 1883. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 81). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart