Public Fossicking Areas are places created for the public to fossick and take gold, legally, because so much gold-bearing ground is legally claimed. Claim owners have had to jump through many environmental hoops to get where they are, and one told us that he will not hesitate to prosecute casual fossickers. The penalties extend to the confiscation of all equipment, including the vehicle used to travel to the area in question, court time and costs. Since Public Fossicking Areas are not in our experience the dregs, but productive areas in good country, intending fossickers would be well advised to stick to them
Have a look at this gold panning spot in Westland
Another place to go gold panning—the Blue Spur gold panning area near Hokitika, on New Zealand’s West Coast (Westland). At left is a photo of a map by Trevor, a Greymouth friend. Click on the map for an enlargement.
Follow the bacteria!
Nature magazine (July, 2006) published a paper by an Australian geomicrobiologist Frank Reith, who says that some gold grains are grown by bacteria, which precipitate gold out of solution. Reith and his colleagues examined gold grains from two sites in Australia and found they were covered by a film of bacteria. One DNA sequence, probably Ralstonia metallidurans, was found in an experiment to precipitate gold out of a solution. The soils where the gold grains were found lie over gold-bearing rocks. Reith said even large nuggets could be the result of accumulation. The discovery raised the possibility, he said, of bacteria being used to process gold. He said that a biosensor could lead the explorer to gold.
West Coast Gold (photo, right)
A nice bit of fossicking by our friend David who spent some time on the West Coast. He finds the Waimea Creek dependable too.
A new public fossicking area has been created
The Ministry of Economic development has announced that a new public fossicking area was gazette on January 12, 2005, situated at Gabriel’s Gully in Otago. The area is 4300 square metres, and is found in the Gabriels Gully stream bed and marginal strip. This brings the total to 13 public fossicking areas, all in the South Island. A detailed map of the area can be viewed during normal business hours at the Ministry of Economic Development, 33 Bowen Street, Wellington, or at the Lawrence Information Centre, 17 Ross Place, Lawrence. A spatial map of the area can be seen,
and a topographical map
Twelve of the 13 public fossicking areas are listed
A southland man, Henry Geerlings, found an 8.87-ounce (275 gram) nugget in Otago’s Arrow River in January. He was snorkeling in the river and swishing the sand around and saw a “bright yellow flash.” He cried out with joy and prized the rare find out of a hole where it had been wedged. The nugget was authenticated by Mr Jim Rose, owner of the Arrowtown Gold Shop. At today’s price (January 29) it would be worth about $NZ8,000, but Mr Geerlings said he would be putting the word out on eBay to see what sort of interest was out there. He estimated that it could reach $NZ30,000-$NZ40,000. The nugget appeared to have shovel marks on it, Mr Geerling said, probably from his own prospecting last year. He spent about three or four days at a time in the river. His biggest find before this nugget was a 2-ounce piece. The largest gold nugget ever discovered in New Zealand was the “Honourable Roddy”, which weighed 99 ounces (3.7 kg). It was found at Ross on the West Coast.
Brian Powell of Renwick, Marlborough, and his friend Gerald Prouting take turns showing local children his on-farm museum and how to pan for gold in the Wairau River. At Bartlett’s Creek, up the north bank of the Wairau River where the family farm is located, Brian finds that youngsters of the area jump at the chance of learning to pan. A gold-bearing reef runs through Bartlett’s Valley, the Marlborough Sounds and the Wakamarina Valley, off the Pelorus River. Brian says it is a seam of quartz, blue schist and gold, but the gold is found only here and there, not along the whole length of the seam. Gold from the Wakamarina River is fine, but at nearby Fabian Valley it is rough, often in little round nuggets “like a pea or grains of wheat.”–From Gold Diggers by Tony Orman, published by the Marlborough Express, November 19, 2005.
The Louis Creek Mining Society has opened its claim to public fossicking by pan or sluice box only. A picnic spot with toilets is also available. The Louis Creek drains, with the Maude and Maggie Creeks, into the Howard Valley in the Buller region of New Zealand’s South Island. The society has 40 members, all keen hobby fossickers. Other productive creeks in the area are New Creek, Sheep Creek and Thompson’s Creek. The Howard Field, of which all these creeks are part, was put on the map by explorer Charles Heaphy (who has a track named after him) and by the 1915 rush and subsequent sluicing by miners of the 1930s depression. Hobby fossickers are still satisfied by the gold flakes they find, especially if they come out of unworked glacial moraine.
“After spending four days panning in Slab Hut and Lyell creeks before getting flooded out, and in the process losing my sluice box (left on the other side of the riverbank to use in the morning, and it was [then] too dangerous to cross the river)—it must be easier to watch a video. Please find enclosed $30 for the Gold For The Taking video.” —Graham of Palmerston North, 11 December, 2001.