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Kapanga Mine, Coromandel, Coromandel Peninsula, Thames-Coromandel District, Waikato Region, North Island, New Zealand

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 36° 43' 51'' South , 175° 30' 9'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -36.73098,175.50262
GeoHash:G#: rckz19m4e
Köppen climate type:Cfb : Temperate oceanic climate

Historic gold mine.

Gold was discovered in Driving Creek in 1852 by saw-miller Charles Ring. Quartz showing gold, and fine gold dust was presented in an attempt to get a reward for the discovery of a goldfield, however it was withheld from Ring when alluvial gold mining subsequently failed at the location.

The area was Maori land, and an arrangement was made for the alluvial miners to be charged a licencing fee, with the money going to the Maori's. Around three thousand miners descended on the area during the initial two month licence free period, however after this only fifty miners applied for licences. Not enough gold was being found to meet expenses, and within six months the rush had died out.

Charles Heaphy surveyed the quartz lodes in 1857, and this led to renewed interest. A party of prospectors began working on the Kapanga Reef, initially taking out one tonne of ore yielding 2.5 ounces of gold.

The Kapanga mine was the first hard rock gold mine in New Zealand. The mine has produced 71 454 ounces Au-Ag (Simpson et al, 2011- 54 965 oz Au and 18 954 oz Ag), across the fifty years it was operational.

The Kapanga Gold Mining Company was formed in the mid 1860's, taking over the Southern Cross, Albion, Golden Point, Cameron, and Coromandel claims. In 1867 it was constructing a battery it had ordered in from England.

The Kapanga Gold Mining Company Limited was reconstructed in 1880 as the Kapanga Gold Mining Company of New Zealand Ltd, and reconstructed again in 1886 as the Kapanga Gold Mining Company Ltd, then amalgamated with the Coromandel Gold Mining Company in 1891. The company was reconstructed again in 1893, then sold to the Hauraki Gold Mining Company Ltd. In 1895 a section of the mine was sold to Balgrove's Freehold Mining Company Limited.

Around 1896, the deeper levels were explored with a shaft to 1000 feet depth, but little gold was found and by 1899 the deeper sections were abandoned. Work focussed on areas above 420 feet from the surface, formerly worked by tributers but now taken over again by the company. In 1901, the company was voluntarily liquidated, and amalgamated with the Balgrove's company, and Kathleen Gold Mines Limited, as the Tarkwa Proprietary Limited, who closed the mine, and focussed attention on other assets it owned.

The host rock is andesite, with alteration around the veins consisting of quartz, illite, chlorite, pyrite, epidote, and calcite.

The quartz veins are narrow, sinuous, 10-45 cms wide, striking north-south, with the main Kapanga vein a length of 290 metres. The veins dip west 25-30 degrees, but at depth dip 30-60 degrees. The separate Hartridges and Anniversary veins strike east-west. Larnach, Coromandel, and Corby shafts are noted on an old map. Scotty's Reef was accessed by the nearby Scotty Mine, but proved un-economic.

Economic gold at Kapanga was restricted to small ore shoots, and patchy pockets of a limited extent, in extensive low grade quartz veins. High grade gold was commonly found at bends in the reef, or where small cross veins intersected the main reef. A small high grade pocket in Hartridges reef was found with a carbonaceous layer with abundant pyrite.

The quartz reefs were commonly finely crystalline, with cavities, lined with drusy and comb quartz, lesser pyrite, and sparse calcite. Natural arsenic and arsenopyrite was commonly associated with high grade gold areas. Natural arsenic is found as reinform nodules up to 15 cms in diameter, enclosing plates and filaments of electrum. Electrum averages 70% Au as coarse jagged particles, or branching filaments in quartz.

Mindat co-ordinates is an interpretation of a historic map, and needs confirmation. A number of private properties are in the vicinity.

Mineral List

8 valid minerals.

Rock Types Recorded

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Regional Geology

This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.

Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on

0 - 2.588 Ma

ID: 3187411
Cenozoic volcanic rocks

Age: Pleistocene (0 - 2.588 Ma)

Lithology: Ignimbrite(s); felsic volcanic rocks; rhyolite

Reference: Chorlton, L.B. Generalized geology of the world: bedrock domains and major faults in GIS format: a small-scale world geology map with an extended geological attribute database. doi: 10.4095/223767. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 5529. [154]

5.333 - 23.03 Ma

ID: 1308094
Coromandel Group Miocene andesite and basaltic andesite lava

Age: Miocene (5.333 - 23.03 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Coromandel Group

Description: Andesite and basaltic andesite lava, tuff and tuff breccia, agglomerate and pyroclastic flow deposits; andesite, diorite and dacite dikes and subvolcanic intusions.

Comments: Zealandia Megasequence Extrusive and Intrusive Rocks (Neogene)

Lithology: Andesite, tuffite, tuff-breccia, agglomerate, pyroclastic material, andesite, diorite, dacite

Reference: Edbrooke, S.W., Heron, D.W., Forsyth, P.J., Jongens, R. (compilers). Geology Map of New Zealand 1:1 000 000. GNS Science Geological Map 2. [12]

Tortonian - Burdigalian
7.246 - 20.44 Ma

ID: 1349694
Kuaotunu Subgroup andesite and dacite (Coromandel Group) of Coromandel Volcanic Zone

Age: Miocene (7.246 - 20.44 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Kuaotunu Subgroup

Description: Basaltic andesite, andesite and dacite intrusives, flows, volcaniclastites and volcanic epiclastites.

Comments: Neogene igneous rocks. Age based on K-Ar

Lithology: Major:: {andesite},Minor:: {dacite}

Reference: Heron, D.W. . Geology Map of New Zealand 1:250 000. GNS Science Geological Map 1. [13]

Data and map coding provided by, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

This page contains all mineral locality references listed on This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.


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Historical account of the discovery of gold in the Australian and New Zealand colonies (1868), The Thames Miners Guide, printed by W.C. Wilson for the proprietors Edward Wayte, Queen Street, Auckland.
Kapanga Gold Mine Coromandel (1902), The Cyclopedia of New Zealand Company Limited, Christchurch (picture).
Railton, G.L¹., Watters, W.A. (1990) Minerals of New Zealand. New Zealand Geological Survey Bulletin 104, 89 pages. (¹published as G.L. Railton but his initials should be G.T. not G.L. - Errata sheet inserted in publication).
Simpson, M.P., Mauk, J.L., Merchant, R. (2011) Bonanza grade epithermal veins from the Coromandel and Thames districts Hauraki Goldfield, Proceedings 2011 AusiMM New Zealand branch annual conference, 27-30 August, Queenstown, New Zealand.

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