Historic gold dredge up for sale

By Aimee Shaw

Grey River gold dredge, located in Ngahere on the West Coast. Photo / VCS Environmental
Grey River gold dredge, located in Ngahere on the West Coast. Photo / VCS Environmental

The last gold dredge operating on the West Coast is up for sale.

Birchfield Minerals has owned the historic site since 1992 but the largest alluvial gold dredge on the West Coast has remained inactive over the last three years.

After a long fight with adjoining landowners, Fish and Game, the dredge has received a resource consent and mining permit ready for a new owner to take over.

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Birchfield Minerals director and West Coast regional councillor Allan Birchfield said he has done his time on the dredge and is ready to move on after 23 years.

He believes the pre-World War 2 site has the commercial potential to "pick up the slack" for coal and mining industries on the West Coast.

"I think there is a good future [for gold], you can see the prices tracking up and with the uncertainty in the world, I think it is likely that the price could go quite a bit higher this year.

"There is a lot of gold here, we haven't really scratched the surface yet," he said.

The Birchfield family has had a long history of working in coal, gold mines and sawmills on the West Coast.

Birchfield said the site needs a new owner with industry experience.

The 3500 tonne dredge originally operated in Kaniere, but moved to Ngahere in 1987.

Fifty seven tonnes of gold had been extracted from the West Coast since 1870.

- NZ Herald

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