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About: The Castle Hill open cut coal mine, located nine kilometres east of Balclutha, near the town of Kaitangata in South Otago, in the south east of New Zealand's South Island, produces lignite, or sub-bituminous coal, for its domestic heating and local industrial customers. Around 80 percent of Castle Hill coal is purchased by the timber, dairy and meat industry and the remaining 20 percent is purchased by households.

The Castle Hill Coal Mine is Owned and Operated by Kai Point Coal Company
The mine is wholly owned and operated by Kai Point Coal, a company incorporated in 1951 by the late George Cross. The Castle Hill mine, that was opened in October 1953 and has been in continuous operation since that time, produces 55,000 tonnes of coal a year.

The Historic Castle Hill Mine had a Tragic History
A coal mine by the same name, Castle Hill, was in production at Kaitangata in the 1890's but today's mine wasn't commissioned until the 1950's after many coal mines in the area had opened, worked for a period and closed over a long period of time. One of the early underground coal mines at Kaitangata is tragically remembered in history after 34 miners died following a gas explosion at the mine in 1879.

Castle Hill Mine is One of the Last Remaining Opencut Mines at Kaitangata
The mining of coal was the mainstay of the town of Kaitangata from 1870 through to 1972, when the last of the state owned underground mines was closed. Since then several smaller open cut mines have kept operating such at the Kai Point Mine.
The coal mining town of Kaitangata is situated on one of the branches of the Clutha River delta with the small Inch Clutha Island to its south west. Lake Tuakitoto is to its north, it is a small lake that feeds into the Clutha River via a small stream that runs west of Kaitangata.

Modern Castle Hill Mine Preceded by Ohai Coal Mine
Castle Hill coal mine founder, George Cross, managed the Linton Coal Company, which was the company that operated the Ohai coal mine. George Cross began as a prospector and started a contracting business before forming the Kai Point Coal Company at Kaitangata that still owns and operates the Castle Hill opencut coal mine.

A New Zealand Coal Resource Survey undertaken between 1981 and 1985 reported the nation had an inground coal resource of 322 million tonnes. It identified 101 million tonnes as being recoverable by open cut mining methods and 115 million tonnes by underground means.It further noted that 887 million tonnes of mostly brown coal was also available. The coal in the Kaitangata sector of the survey was reported as being close to lignite as well as being aligned with borderline sub-bituminous coal. The Castle Hill open cut coal deposit is characterised by being part of a fine grained flood basin source that in part is well drained and in other parts belonging to a poorly drained swamp mud environment.

Kai Point Coal Company

Originally incorporated in 1951 by Castle Hill coal mine founder, George Cross, who managed the Linton Coal Company, which was the company that operated the Ohai coal mine. George Cross began as a prospector and started a contracting business before forming the Kai Point Coal Company at more


Kai Point Coal Company
Berry Street
Kaitangata, NZ 9210

PO Box 50
Balclutha, NZ 9240



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