On the South Island’s West Coast, black sand beaches such as this have successfully been mined for gold. The sands also contain other heavy minerals eroded from the Southern Alps and concentrated on beaches through wave action. In the North Island the black sands are derived from volcanic rocks and dominate the 750 km of shoreline between Taranaki and Cape Rēinga in the far north. Auckland’s black sands are mined and smelted into iron.
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Photograph by Simon Nathan
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