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Coalgate, Selwyn District, Canterbury Region, South Island, New Zealand

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 43° 29' 0'' South , 171° 57' 59'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -43.48333,171.96666
Köppen climate type:Cfb : Temperate oceanic climate

Coalgate is 50 kilometres west of Christchurch at the base of the Malvern Hills. The area was important economically for Christchurch in the late 19th Century. Apart from the Homebush Mine at Glentunnel, and the Snowdon Mine at Rakaia Gorge, little remains to be seen of the once extensive mining operations in the district.

The area contained 77 coal mines, most small and short lived affairs. Mindat only lists the most substantial. The coal was used for household heating, railways, and brick kilns. It was usually transported by rail into Christchurch, and sold to the general public from several yards in what is now inner Christchurch. A small modern open cast (pit) is operational for coal at the time of writing (2017), about 3 kilometres north-west of Coalgate.

The district was also important for pottery clays, making bricks, tiles, gutters, domestic ware, at a time before plastic, and when glass was expensive. Some of the mines combined coal and clay, with the coal powering their kilns. Both were transported to several large brick yards in Christchurch, with an extensive production of the products mentioned. Gradually customers shifted to more modern materials, the mines closed, and the brick kilns were demolished. A type of clay called bentonite has been mined near Coalgate, and processed in the town since 1967, and is used for a variety of industrial purposes. Despite much clay remaining, little appears to have been done in recent times to develop an artisanal pottery business in the district for tourists.

Minor sand, lime, and building stone mining has also occurred in the area. Fossils and agate are also found in the area, neither very accessible.

Commodity List

This is a list of exploitable or exploited mineral commodities recorded from this region.

Mineral List

Mineral list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities

13 valid minerals.

Rock Types Recorded

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Rock list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities

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Alphabetical List Tree Diagram

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

Holocene - Late Pleistocene
0 - 0.126 Ma

ID: 1323527
OIS1 (Holocene) river deposits

Age: Pleistocene (0 - 0.126 Ma)

Description: Modern river floodplain/low-level degradation tce. Unweathered, variably sorted gravel/sand/silt/clay. Surfaces <2 degree slope.

Comments: Holocene river deposits. Age based on geomorphic inference

Lithology: Major:: {gravel},Minor:: {sand, silt, clay}

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

0 - 2.588 Ma

ID: 1384072
Late Quaternary alluvium and colluvium

Age: Pleistocene (0 - 2.588 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Pakihi Supergroup

Description: Unconsolidated to poorly consolidated mud, sand, gravel and peat of alluvial and colluvial origin.

Comments: Zealandia Megasequence Terrestrial and Shallow Marine Sedimentary Rocks (Neogene)

Lithology: Mud, sand, gravel, peat

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]

Jurassic - Triassic
145 - 252.17 Ma

ID: 3185705
Mesozoic sedimentary and volcanic rocks

Age: Mesozoic (145 - 252.17 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Torlesse Supergroup

Lithology: Mafic volcanic rocks; basalt; chert,greywacke,argillite,limestone

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]

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

Localities in this Region

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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Railton, G.L., Watters, W.A. (1990) Minerals of New Zealand, New Zealand Geological Survey Bulletin No. 104.

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