The recommission of Grey River Gold Dredge
MA.MED 30 June 2008
Development West Coast supports the recommission of Grey River Gold Dredge
Development West Coast has approved a business loan to Birchfield Minerals Ltd. The loan of $2.2 million will see the upgrade of the mechanical and electrical systems of the dredge enabling dredging of the Grey River near Ngahere to recommence in 2009. Birchfield Minerals Ltd purchased the business in 1992 and it successfully operated until 2004 when it was mothballed.
The dredge is one of the few bucket-line gold dredges still operating in the world today and is the last of its kind on the West Coast. The dredge was originally constructed by Kaniere Gold Dredging Company Ltd and worked in the Hokitika area between 1938 to 1953. In 1957, the dredge was relocated to Taramakau River where it worked until 1978. It was dismantled in the early 1980’s and the salvageable machinery was used in the construction of the Grey River gold dredge.
The total minerals permit area contains approximately 85 million cubic metres of gravel. Birchfield Minerals anticipates producing approximately 7,800 fine ounces of gold annually. Fully operational, the dredge will employ 18 people over 2 shifts, plus sub contractors, and inject over $9.36 million annually into the West Coast economy at today’s price of NZ$1,200 per ounce.