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Mine Creek Mine, Ross, Westland District, West Coast Region, South Island, New Zealand

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 42° 59' 23'' South , 170° 46' 2'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -42.98983,170.76730
Köppen climate type:Cfb : Temperate oceanic climate

The historic Mine Creek Mine is next to the said creek, on the southern slopes of Mount Rangitoto, approximately 80 kilometres south of Hokitika. There is no access to the old workings, requiring walking cross country in thick rainforest.

The lode was worked between 1875 to 1904, producing a small quantity of silver, from quartz veins containing pyrite, sphalerite, galena, minor chalcopyrite and electrum. Gangue included calcite and tourmaline. The lode is found in a narrow shear zone in hornfelsed Greenland Group greywacke and argillite. The shear strikes north-east,dipping 20-40 degrees north-west, near the crest of the Mine Creek Anticline, which shows a marked reversal of dip at the workings.

The deposit was discovered by prospectors James Bevan, James Palmer, and Edwin Kenway in 1875. The Mount Rangitoto Silver Mining Company was formed shortly after with £30,000 capital. Mine Manager Frederick Manton was sacked, due it is said to haphazard mining and prospecting, producing lower than expected results. New mine manager, Carl Schonfelter abandoned the original workings, and dug a new tunnel 30 metres below the old in 1877. More development followed, discovering stronger richer veins than the original effort.

A three stamp battery was installed, however it was not suited to the ore. A wrought iron roasting pan was added, with no better results. The deposit also contained significant gold in addition to the silver, however no effort was made to obtain the gold, which was dumped in the tailings. By 1882, more lead was being found than silver, with the company running out of capital. Attempts to raise money in England failed, and mining ceased.

The lease was sold in 1889 to a syndicate of six men, it part shareholders from the original company. Some mining occurred, and various attempts to float a company proved unsuccessful, and the lease was abandoned again in 1907. Over subsequent years there were a number of attempts to raise capital to re-start mining by former shareholders, and their descendants, without success.

The workings are found in an area of hornfelsed pendant epigranular quartz, with pale to dark brown biotite, muscovite flakes, sericite, and rare sillimanite fine fibrous needles, often curved and cross-cutting quartz veinlets, oligoclase, andalusite, cordierite, and microcline. Tourmaline is locally abundant with crystals up to 4 mms long, often coloured zoned with green in the core, and brown margins. Magnetite is also found as disseminated crystals to 0.2 mms. The Rangitoto Granite contains plagioclase, quartz, K-feldspar, biotite, chlorite, rutile as fine needles, zircon, epidote, zoisite, calcite, sericite, andesine, albite, oligoclase.

The large Mine Creek Fault marks the boundary between the Rangitoto Granite, and the hornfelsed pendant roof, being a normal fault, striking north north-east to south south-west, dipping vertically or steeply east, upthrown to the west. The old workings are on splays from this fault, with considerable fracturing of the hornfelsed pendant around the workings.

The quartz veins strike north-east, dipping 10-30 degrees north-west, cutting the bedding and axial plane of the Mine Creek Anticline at a high angle. The veins occur in shears, being splays off the Mine Creek Fault, in crushed Greenland Group metasediments. There is erratic sulphide mineralisation in the veins, ranging from massive pyrite across the majority of the vein to barren quartz. Galena and sphalerite consist about 10-15% volume of the veins, and is considerably less than pyrite. There is minor tourmaline and calcite.

Pyrite is found as cube crystals 2-3 mms , and some pyritohedrons, commonly fractured then healed with quartz. There is also massive, subhedral and euhedral aggregates. Pale yellow electrum consists 50-55% silver, and 45-50% gold, as up to 0.4 mm grains.

Mineral List

17 valid minerals.

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 Macrostrat.org

0 - 2.588 Ma

ID: 3186280
Cenozoic sedimentary rocks

Age: Pleistocene (0 - 2.588 Ma)

Comments: surficial deposits

Lithology: Unconsolidated sand, gravel and mud

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]

Rhuddanian - Jiangshanian
440.8 - 494 Ma

ID: 1330783
Greenland Group metasediment

Age: Paleozoic (440.8 - 494 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Greenland Group

Description: Undifferentiated greenish-grey quartzose greywacke and argillite; locally hornfelsed close to granitoid plutons.

Comments: Basement (Western Province) metamorphic rocks. Age based on Based on stratigraphic age range

Lithology: Major:: {sandstone},Minor:: {mudstone}

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

Ordovician - Late Cambrian
443.8 - 501 Ma

ID: 1313577
Greenland Group metasedimentary rocks

Age: Paleozoic (443.8 - 501 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Greenland Group

Description: Quartzose metasandstone and metamudstone, hornfelsed near plutons and locally schistose.

Comments: Western Province (Buller Terrane) Rocks

Lithology: Sandstone, mudstone, schist

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]

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

This page contains all mineral locality references listed on mindat.org. 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 mindat.org 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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Jury, A.P. (1981) Mineralisation at Mount Rangitoto and Mount Greenland Westland. MSc (thesis), University of Canterbury.

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