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6/8/2018 — Education, Science and Technology
Forgotten goldfield talk in Nelson

The Golden Blocks goldfield near the top of the South Island will be the subject of a talk at the AusIMM’s Nelson Discussion Group meeting next Friday afternoon.

One of the NZ mining sector’s most knowledgeable people on the country’s mining history, John Taylor of Reefton, will talk on “Taitapu – the Forgotten Goldfield” at the Nick Smith Community Room at 544 Waimea Road, Annesbrook, Stoke.

The function begins at 5 pm.

Taylor will talk about the Aorangi mine at Golden Blocks which in recent years has been held by Perth company Strategic Elements, though its focus in recent times appears to have been on projects elsewhere.

Research by Taylor showed Aorangi had a relatively short operating life, from 1899 to 1914, and prospectors produced a known 26,596 ounces of gold from 23,693 tons of quartz ore.

The AusIMM said the mineralized belt containing a number of small gold mines, of which Golden Blocks was the largest, lies in an 88,000 acre former Maori Reserve.

This land remained in private ownership through until 1987 when it was purchased by the Nelson Conservancy for $650,000. Because the land and its underlying mineral rights were held under private ownership for almost 90 years successive NZ Governments were unable to issue exploration or mining claims, licences or permits within the area. It remains largely under-explored.

Taylor is a Cornish–born mining engineer who graduated from the Royal School of Mines, London and has worked for both mining companies and mineral industry consultancies in New Zealand and internationally.

After nearly 30 years working in places such as Cyprus, Iran, Spain and Australia he came to New Zealand in 1993 to work as project engineer on the Globe-Progress mine for Macraes Mining.

In 2003 he joined Solid Energy and where he eventually became underground and subsurface investigations manager on the Millerton project at Stockton. He currently works from Reefton as a consultant.

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John Taylor surrounded by historic maps. Photo: Margaret Low, GNS Science.