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Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 1, Issue 5, December 1961

Some Concern Felt

Some Concern Felt

Some concern was felt in London in 1856 when one of the miners, returning to England, stated that the leads at the summit on the Dun were quite worthless. However, several tons of copper were sent to England, and other reports being sufficiently favourable, the Dun Mountain Copper Mining Company Limited was formed in London in March. 1857, with a capital of £75,000. of which £6000 in unpaid shares was allotted to the original promotors, the Cook Strait Mining Company (2).

By November 9, 1857. Mr T. R. Hacket, sent out as manager of the undertaking, reported in his first letter: "It was disappointing to find not so much as a single ton of copper ore in sight on the surface anywhere." and in Nelson he stated "the report of masses of ore, all moonshine".

On March 3, 1858, he reported that, despite the absence of copper, the chrome ore "holds down in four places where we have worked on it and is more than 12 feet wide… I cannot but condemn the copper mine entirely."

It is interesting to record that Mr George Duppa had spent a considerable time on the mineral belt prior to this and was responsible for the discovery of chrome ore (2 & 3).

In a circular issued in London in 1858, the company stated: "Our engineer has discovered in considerable quantities a rich vein of mineral known as chromate of iron, of which large quantities can be shipped. At Liverpool it is worth about £8/15/- a ton, and from about 1000 to 2000 tons can be readily sold," adding that "it is extensively used in this country in manufacturing into chrome and bichromate of potash and colours, and consumption is kept down by the difficulty of obtaining a free supply of the raw material."