Gold first discovered by Richard McBrinn in August 1887.
One ton of ore was sent to Australia for treatment and yielded Bullion worth £380.
In 1888 a New South Wales Syndicate formed the Maratoto Mining Co. and this company erected a pan amalgamation treatment plant and treated 400 tons of ore from a rich seam which yielded 7,000 ounces bullion, worth £5,000, but did not return a profit. This company ceased operations in 1891.
Tributors worked the mine between 1892 – 95 and treated 878 tons of ore for 4,596 ounces of bullion, valued at £8,000.
In 1895, Messrs Walker, McLeary and others, took up the adjoining claims.
1898 saw the Maratoto Gold Mining Co. of Auckland erect a fifteen stamp battery with cyanide plant in the Maratoto Valley along with an overhead cableway to the McBrinns Creek Mine to give it another trial.
They ended up treating 1,379 tons of ore for 11,596 ounces bullion worth £7,005.
The New Zealand Mines Department put up £6,000 to help dig the Majestic Drive 2,450 feet but no real payable ore was found and the mine closed in 1927.
THE WORKINGS OF THE PAN AMALAMATION PLANT
Two of the three steel tanks which have the double winding and locking wheels attached, were used for crushing the ore with the crushing plates lowered as required.
The third tank with a number of pipe outlets was used to agitate the finely ground ore. The higher outlets letting the lighter waste escape while the heavy contents, through the bottom hole, got mixed with mercury and flowed over the Wilfley table.
This plant was originally run by water power only, but a steam boiler had to be added as in summer there was a shortage of water.
The ore from the Volunteer Mine was transported by pack horses to this plant and crushed after the First World War. This mine was the only financially successful mine in the Maratoto area.