Scheelite Historic Mine & ReesDart TrackJanuary 8, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C
Beside gold, settlers also mined for Scheelite (Calcium Tungstate for the chemists). Swedes actually first called the rock Tungsten, which the element was later named after. It's a white rock that is very hard. It's often found together with gold, so mining for both resources went hand-in-hand.
Mining work was very volatile. During war, hard scheelite was in high demand because it could be used in armour plates and big gun barrels. But after the war, prices dropped too low to continue mining it profitably.
We went for a hike to one of these old Scheelite mines. We first saw the processing area. Water was channeled down a pipe to turn a turbine. The mechanical power moved the machinery directly (no electricity). Different crushers, shaking tables, a rotating drum and washing bins separated the scheelite from ore. The engineer in me got excited again.
An old bulldozer had been left behind. Back to work! Ore was dug from tunnels and moved by mining carts over rails. Ore was dumped in big piles. One rail went right over the edge of a cliff and stopped abruptly. It looked like a mistake. But we later learned that this is how they disposed of waste rock. "Bye!"
We drove through the town of Glenorchy. Someone was building a Tiny House in a vacant lot. Cool! Unfortunately we didn't meet them. But it was interesting to see the frame almost fully built. We stopped by the Mrs. Wooly General Store. It's an old fashioned looking store selling eco-friendly products. And right behind it a new eco-village was being built, with really forward thinking resource and waste management ideas. Sweet area!
Mats did a hike later that afternoon, along the Rees-Dart track. It's named after the two rivers that flow down to Lake Wakatipu from the mountains. Mats hiked along the Dart River. It had great views of the mountains surrounding the mountain, particularly Mt Earnslaw. And looking up the valley you could see the glaciers feeding the rivers.Read more