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Bright Smile Mine, Thames, Thames-Coromandel District, Waikato Region, North Island, New Zealand

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 37° 8' 3'' South , 175° 32' 30'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -37.13443,175.54184
GeoHash:G#: rckudxcsm
Köppen climate type:Cfb : Temperate oceanic climate

Historic gold mine.

Some decent crushings of specimen stone came from the mine in the early 1870's by the Bright Smile Gold Mining Company. The mine was near the former foreshore, now part of the Thames town-site. It suffered from an ingress of sea-water, kept at bay by powerful pumping equipment. As an indication at how extensive and possibly over-capitalised some of these mines were, an investigation in 1874 showed the mine employed 150 men, 28 horses, had 87 battery stamps crushing 900 tonnes of ore per week.

The pumping equipment also kept nearby mines free of water including the City of London, Queen of Beauty, Bird in hand, Queen of the May, Queen of the Thames, City of York, and Exchange mines. By 1875, the Bright Smile Mine was seriously in debt, with only low grade ore now available. It requested financial assistance from the other mines to keep the pumping equipment operating.

The other mines made noises how they were willing to contribute, but no money was forthcoming. The creditors took over the Bright Smile Mine, stopped the pumping, and allowed the workings to flood. This also flooded the nearby mines, closing all in the immediate area and sending 300 miners out of work.

Intermittent upper level mining continued for the next couple of decades. Mine manager James Garvey died in 1883 from lung desease. He was 38. Edward Clark was killed at the mine in 1874 after being struck by the cage whilst signalling.

The main shaft was sited where the present Bright Smile Community Gardens are located. The houses next door may consider the following. Sometime in the 1880's the engine house and poppet head completely dis-appeared down a sink hole one night, which had suddenly developed. Ten years later another hole appeared. Then in 1938 a hole appeared in Bella street 12 feet wide and 8 feet deep, all the result of collapsing underground workings.

Mineral List

1 valid mineral.

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: 1308452
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.

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]

Late Pleistocene - Middle Pleistocene
0.0117 - 0.781 Ma

ID: 1359568
OIS5+-OIS2 (Middle Pleistocene - Late Pleistocene) river and hill slope deposits

Age: Pleistocene (0.0117 - 0.781 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Tauranga Group

Description: Predominantly pumiceous sand, silt, mud and clay, with interbedded gravel and peat.

Comments: Middle Pleistocene - Late Pleistocene river and hill slope deposits. Age based on absolute age calculated from stratigraphic age range

Lithology: Major:: {mud},Minor:: {sand, silt, clay, peat}

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

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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Otago Witness newspaper (1874) (no title), issue 1157, 31 January 1874.
Evening Post newspaper (1874) Grahamstown, Vol. IX, issue 298, 04 February 1874.
Thames Star newspaper (1874) The Drainage Question, Vol. IIII, issue 1705, 20 June 1874.
Thames Star newspaper (1874) The Bright Smile, Vol. IIII, issue 1727, 10 July 1874.
Mount Ida Chronicle newspaper (1875) Mining Crisis at the Thames, Vol. VI, issue 348, 06 November 1875.
Thames Star newspaper (1875) Meeting of the Bright Smile Creditors, Vol. VII, issue 2172, 20 December 1875.
Bay of Plenty Times newspaper (1883) Thames, Vol. XII, issue 1621, 08 December 1883.
New Zealand Herald newspaper (1938) Ground Subsides. Large Hole in Street. Old Thames Mine Workings, Vol. LXXV, issue 22966, 18 February 1938.

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