Coal resources of the Charleston area, West Coast, South Island

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Nathan, S. 1972 Coal resources of the Charleston area, West Coast, South Island. Lower Hutt: New Zealand Geological Survey. Report NZGS 59 18 p.

Abstract: The Charleston Coalfield is situated twenty to forty miles south of Westport on the West Coast of the South Island (Fig 1, inset). Coal is found in a narrow north-south trending belt of lower Tertiary coal measures which crops out between the mouth of the Nile River in the north and Limestone Creek in the south. Scattered patches of coal measures are also found along the Greymouth-Westport highway to the west of main belt (Fig 1). Coal has been mined in this area for over 100 years, but the coalfield has never been a large producer because its low rank bituminous coal cannot compete economically with bituminous coal from the nearby Buller Coalfield. All mining so far has been on a very small scale, and consisted mainly of privately-owned opencast pits worked intermittently when there was a need for coal. The coalfield reached peak production between 1944 and 1952 (82,452 tons being mined in 1948) to satisfy the demand for coal after the war. Production fell to 20,297 tons in 1952 and has shown a steady decline ever since. In 1970 only three mines (Rata opencast, S30/m15; McLaughlin's opencast, S30/m24; and Brighton, S37/m1) are working.