Day 25: Rest Day
and Hippy Trails
Ellen, Kathy, Kate , Sophie and I go to see Peter, a man who lives on
his own on his gold patch by the sea. Peter is a 50-60 year old Hippie
and has plans of using his gold prospecting machine he was building to
pay for a green community he has been dreaming of. He had a lot of experience
gold prospecting in Alaska and other parts of the USA and now lives on
the West coast of NZ.
The sand on the beaches
here is very dark and very heavy. A bucket of the sand is noticeably heavy.
What's more important, and the reason for our trip, is that the sands
also contain a lot of gold. The gold is very fine and because the sand
is heavy and the gold mixed in, it is very difficult to separate in a
cost effective way. Consequently, even though there is a lot of gold,
not too many people are actually trying to get the precious stuff out
Often stormy weather
will bring in waves that drop gold in bands (lens shaped) at the tide
mark and these are interesting as they have a much greater amount of gold
in them. It's like a large natural panning effect accumulating gold. Peter
estimates that 2000 tonnes of the sand will yield 2 oz of gold. So you
need a system that can plough through a lot of material to make a commercial
success of it all.
We spend the morning
with Peter and he showed us his previous and latest inventions and was