The history of the Blackwater Gold Project dates back to 1905 when the main “Birthday Reef” was discovered by a small prospecting group. Mining is said to have commenced shortly afterwards in 1906 and the operation continued for 45 years up until 1951.
During this period the mine produced about 733,000 ounces of 21 tonnes of gold. It was worked from two shafts – the Blackwater Shaft and Prohibition Shaft – and mined to a depth of 800 metres across 16 levels.
The mine was still operating in profitable ore when the collapse of the Blackwater Shaft resulted in the closure of the operation. It is still considered one of the richest and most consistent gold reefs discovered anywhere in the world.
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Gold mineralisation at Blackwater is hosted in narrow quartz veins. Most of the gold-bearing quartz veins in the Reefton Goldfield are arranged along a linear belt that runs north-south through the Greenland Group sequence. This suggests the presence of a deep-seated structure that has tapped a large reservoir of mineralised fluid. All the gold production from the Blackwater Mine came from the Birthday Reef, a single quartz vein that was mined continuously for over 1,000m in strike and over 710m in depth.
A JORC compliant Mineral Resource was calculated by OceanaGold Corporation.