Story: Gold and gold mining

Cyanide vats

Cyanide vats

The development of the cyanide process for extracting gold and silver from crushed quartz revolutionised hard-rock gold mining in New Zealand in the 1890s. Before cyanide, a mercury amalgam was used to chemically recover gold and silver, but it was only half as effective. Cyanide allowed far more of the gold and silver to be recovered, making previously marginal mining operations profitable. These large vats hold cyanide and crushed ore.

About this item

Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira
Reference: B3557

Permission of the Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Carl Walrond, 'Gold and gold mining - Coromandel Peninsula', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/8601/cyanide-vats (accessed 18 November 2017)

Story by Carl Walrond, published 12 Jun 2006