Gold and coal have both been extracted from the West Coast, but their production histories have been very different. Gold output peaked during the mid-1860s gold rush, but had fallen away by the end of the decade. After that output slowly declined, interrupted only by a dredging boom at the start of the 20th century. In the 1990s the gold price rose and mining increased. Coal production waned from the 1940s to the 1970s, as its use in shipping, rail and homes declined, but surged from the 1980s on the back of contracts to export high-quality bituminous coal.
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Source: Statistics New Zealand; Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives