Waihi's Martha Mine Pit Collapse

Hi there, A few weeks ago was Mrs JW’s 60th birthday. We had organised to go up north to make it a family reunion with our kids, grand kids & close long time friends. We booked a waterfront house at Waihi Beach that slept 10 & where the front yard merged with the ocean beach. Beautiful spot. Waihi Beach was a great central place for people to come to & was an area where I lived for most of my first marriage & where my kids grew up & went to school. Three of my boys still live & now work in the area & are no more than 10 k’s from each other. The oldest two have a son each, so two grand sons for me. My fourth & youngest son is over in Brisbane, Australia. He was going to fly over but it turned out to interfere with a two week schooling block course for his electrical engineering apprenticeship that he his doing. Both Mrs JW’s daughter, son & his partner & there daughter (Mrs JW’s grand daughter) came & stayed with us along with a few close friends who traveled to be there for a long weekend.

On leaving a beautiful hot sunny Queenstown I landed in Auckland to rain. And it rained for three straight days. Mrs JW had flown up earlier than me to go even further north to stay a couple of nights with a close old friend of hers at a new place that she had bought. Mrs JW picked me up from the airport & we headed straight to the beach. Luckily the place we had rented had a games room so the rain didn’t bother us too much. So it was socialising, drinking…opps…I mean celebrating, eating, playing pool & table tennis. It was a good time to be had with family & close friends. We are making easter time an annual event to do the same thing. One of my sons told me that the Waihi Martha mine open pit had had a major collapse & was likely to end the open pit operations of the mine. They are also under ground mining…so not all is lost. Here is an overview photo of the Martha Mine operastions. It is now owned & run by Oceana Gold & not Newmont. The open pit is pretty much right in the center of the town.

When I lived in Waihi I owned a property immediately to the left & just on the other side of the yellow line mining boundry where it says Favona Project Area.

On our drive back to Auckland we went through Waihi to check out the collapse.

This is a mock poppet head serving as a monument to what used to be several of these back in the old deep underground mine working days.

Parked underneath it we head on up to the viewing platform, walking past another monument. The old Cornish Pump House that has actually been moved some distance from where it originally was over a deep shaft, that was collapsing, where it pumped out the water from the old under ground workings.

So this is what greeted us at the lookout viewing platform. Just below that big tin shed top right of center you will see the haul road going diagonally to the left right through where the slip has taken it out. lt curls on around the open pit to where you cant see it passing directly below in the foreground & winds on around the back again & passes right through where the slip has buried it with a few pebbles. Note directly below & to the left of that tin shed, beneath the haul road, quartz veins in the pit wall. You use to be able to see the old mine drives in the pit wall as well & the old timbering supports & large chambers that they had stoped out.

Bit of video footage


Good luck out there

JW :slight_smile:


This might interest you too. Old news now but still of interest & some good footage over looking Waihi & the mine operations. Enjoy.

JW :slight_smile:

that’s going to take some digging out

Hi Keith, It doesn’t sound like they are going to bother. They would need to construct another haul road. I guess it depends on any gold values that may or may not be in it to make it worth their while. If the gold values continue below the floor of the pit, which they undoubtedly do, then if they are worth chasing then they will more than likely under ground mine it as they are in other places not too far away. Just a matter of linking off under ground & head on over under the pit under Waihi township. Out of site to the public & so out of mind. So to speak. Like the Favona & Trio underground workings.

JW :slight_smile:

Was extremely fortunate that they were expecting it and the pit was inactive at the time. Couple of million tonnes! We got a sensor installed in a weak spot shortly afterwards… No doubt along as did a few other sites.

yep big slip alright took this photo a week or so ago…
Didnt realise what i was looking at till i saw this thread…
Was to lazy to walk further for a better camera angle…

waihi martha mine will not close and where you were standing to take your photos there is 5 shafts along that area

Here’s a (horribly obscured) shot of the failure site on the 24th April, just prior to the main collapse.
The poppies were the centre of attention, ignoring the obvious rockfall across the road in the background.

There is a lot more to the Martha Mine than just the open pit with the under ground workings carrying on They may even under ground mine below the pit floor. The pit had gone about as deep as it could go with out having to widen the top outside perimeter, & that is at it limit I do believe. The five shafts you mention, I think you will find that they have all been consumed by the open pit. The Cornish pump house was moved from its original shaft position…at great expense…so the open pit could expand.

JW :slight_smile:

The shafts are still there is know where they will mine they won’t stop as to much gold in waihi and around the area