Waihi Borough Council Diamond Jubilee Booklet 1902-1962
By A. M. ISDALE, B.A.
(Secretary, Thames-Hauraki Historical Society).
Following the winding-up of the Martha Gold-Mining Coy., in July 9th, 1955, the Martha Mine area was made a wildlife sanctuary and the Victoria Battery site at Waikino was taken over Mr I. Gerrand for cleaning up scrap metal and gold and silver residues. He also disposed of most of the buildings. From 1955 to 1960 Messrs Frewin Bros. carried out cleaning up operations for gold and silver residues on the old Martha refinery site at Waihi.
Towards the end of 1959 Mr Gerrand's interests at Waikino were purchased by a Canadian company, South Pacific Mines Ltd., which during 1959-60 also acquired rights to tailing on the banks of the Ohinemuri River between Mackaytown and Paeroa, and between Waikino and Waihi. Union Hill at Waihi was likewise taken up, together with Martha Hill, which was gazetted available for mining again. Two prospecting licences were pegged at Maratoto.
During 1960 and 1961-62 further cleaning up of gold and silver residues was carried on at Waikino on a pilot-plant basis, it being intended to erect a large plant at Waikino to treat sand tailings from the banks of the Ohinemuri River in conjunction with Waikino battery residues and some better grade surface ore left standing at the old Martha Mine.
During 1960 Pacific Western Alloys Inc., a Californian company managed by the officials of South Pacific Mines, took up prospecting licences in the Maratoto-Komata-Waitekauri area and carried out preliminary prospecting.
During 1960 an assay office was set up by South Pacific at Waikino, in addition to the one at Thames, the Waikino office later that year taking over all assay work for company operations in the Thames, Te Aroha and Ohinemuri districts.
1961 a small cyanide plant was added at Waikino, under the supervision of the Mill Superintendent, Mr D. M. Haszard of Waihi. Also a change-over was made from sending Waikino gold-bearing concentrates overseas, gold-silver bullion being melted and cast into bars on the spot.
During 1962 pilot-plant operations at Waikino were completed and at the time of writing the chief activity at Waikino, pending erection of the projected large sands-treatment plant, is the assaying of samples from Te Aroha.
In addition to the above, during 1959-62, several other companies, some with headquarters overseas, took up large areas in the Ohinemuri district, and areas were also pegged by individuals. 1961-62 New Zealand Mines Ltd., a company registered in U.S.A. carried out "diamond drilling in the Waihi area following geophysical and geochemical surveys." One bore was at the western entrace to Waihi.
The direct quotation just above is fromone of the Government Mines Statements, to which considerable acknowledgement is due.