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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Employment and Economic Value

The economic value of New Zealand's 1963 mineral production is summarised in the following table:

Mineral Total Value Men Employed Total Value Per Man
Gold and silver £ £
Other metallic ores 168,986 101 1,670
Other metallic ores 21,659 16 1,350
Coal 8,027,163 3,660 2,190
Other fuels 21,214 10 2,120
Quarries (includes all non-metallic or industrial minerals) 12,086,962 3,977 3,040
Total for 1963 20,325,984 7,764 2,620*


The mineral industry employs men belonging to a variety of trades and unions. Wages therefore show considerable local variations, depending on union agreements and overtime requirements. The average earnings and outputs of miners in State coal mines in 1960 may be summarised as follows: earnings of £3 8s. 6d. to 5 12s. 3d. per shift, according to type of work and location; an overall annual income of about £1,100 for 230 working days of one major shift only; and an annual output of 450 and 2,540 tons per man on payroll for underground and opencasts respectively, or 750 tons for all mines.

No reliable estimates of metal mining costs are available that might be applicable to newly opened mines. State coal mine costs in 1960 ranged from 31s. 8d. per ton in Weavers Opencast, where an area of low overburden to coal ratio is being exploited, through 41s. 2d. at Rotowaro and 44s. at Millerton, the least costly of underground mines, to a maximum of 95s. 10d. at Blackball. The average for all State underground mines was 67s. as against 44s. 4d. per ton for opencasts.

Quarrying and gold dredging costs are variable and, as all enterprises are privately operated, reliable costs are not readily available. Average 1963 recoveries, which must offset both costs and profits, were 10s. and 8½d. per cu. yd. for quarries and dredges respectively.

Income taxation on metal mining recognises the fact that mineral reserves become depleted over the life of a mine and therefore provision is made for what amounts to the return of capital. Companies deriving their income from mining gold, mercury, scheelite, molybenite, lead, zinc, antimony, tin, manganese, and uranium ores, are taxed on half the dividends paid each year until the total of all dividends that have been paid exceeds twice the paid-up capital. Thereafter, the assessment is based on the dividends paid during that year.

Next Part: Aids to Mining