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You no longer have to have a Prospector's Right in New Zealand (if you are old enough to remember it!) That requirement went out years ago! Just go to one of the 13 Public Fossicking Areas. We've got them all listed and mapped in our book, Gold For The Taking.
For the current gold price see our GOLD PRICE PAGE.
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.
A letter to the Department of Conservation, West Coast 11-02-10
I was at the Waimea Creek a couple of days ago and was chatting to a group of fossickers there who were having a good time finding gold. They were aware that this was a Public Fossicking Area.
One of the men said that he was there last winter, and saw some people with a portable pump sucking out gravel upstream of the camping area. He pointed out that this was not permitted by law, as only hand tools are allowed. He alleges that he drew the attention of your department, but that you were not interested. Would you care to comment?
I will be publishing my account on our website www.findgoldnz.com, and any response from you would be appreciated.
A further email to the Department on March 9, 2010 resulted in the
following letter, which is reproduced in its entirety. We thank the Department
for its commitment to enforcing the law.
A further email to the Department on March 9, 2010 resulted in the following letter, which is reproduced in its entirety. We thank the Department for its commitment to enforcing the law.
I apologise for the lack of a timely response from the Department.
I'm also not sure what happened with the call to the Department last year, and our alleged lack of interest in a breach of the fossicking area rules.
I would like to reassure you that we are certainly very interested in and concerned about any abuse of the fossicking area rules and, if advised at the time, would do all we could do to deal with such an offence.
The fossicking area at Goldsborough includes parts of the Waimea and Shamrock Creeks, the latter being the creek beside the campsite. I walked up the creek last spring to reassess the boundary of the fossicking area. At that time, I did not see any sign of illegal activity although disappointingly there were a number of areas where fossickers had not returned the site to the condition they found it, (as required under the Gold Fossicking Care Code - http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/plan-and-prepare/care-codes/activity-minimal-impact-codes/gold-fossicking-care-code/).
A Crown Minerals mining permit area is being mined immediately downstream of the fossicking area and the confluence of Waimea and Shamrock Creeks, adjacent to Waimea Creek. Strict conditions are in place to prevent contamination of the creek.
We are keen to learn of any breaches of mining conditions or fossicking rules and would follow up ourselves or through the Regional Council as appropriate. If you can encourage your readers to report any such issues immediately, we are better placed to take effective action.
Thank you for your interest and, again, please accept my apologies for the mix up here, which resulted in a lack of response to your first email.
a look at this gold panning spot in Westland
West Coast Gold (photo, right)
A new public fossicking area
has been created
A southland man, Henry Geerlings, found a 8.87-ounce (275 gram) nugget in Otago's Arrow River in January. He was snorkelling 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.
South Island fossickers who want to sell their gold could try Diamond Traders in Christchurch. Gerald Westenra will evaluate your gold and pay on the spot with "competitive prices". His buying fee is dependent on quantity. Have a look at his website www.diamondtraders.co.nz
Some fossickers' refinements
Photo No. 1 Two of the three
friends in a river, looking for a spot to set up their sluice boxes.
Using a metal detector (below)