West Nicholson Mine

West Nicholson Mine

Gwanda District

West Nicholson is named after Andy Nicholson, an early prospector who entered the country with the Pioneer Column and was responsible for mining exploration in the area. The gold mine is 7 miles (11-km) SE of Geelong on the banks of the Umzingwane River.

In 1898 the West Nicholson Gold Mining Co Ltd was registered acquired 112 gold reef claims that formed the West Nicholson-Olympus Mines. During 1902, Mr Huntley, a mining engineer, took over development of the mine and it was revealed the existence of three parallel reefs and the prospects of the mine were regarded as being in every way satisfactory.

On 31st October, 1902 it was estimated that there were 70,000 tons of ore in sight, valued at from 8 to 12 dwts. per ton, besides a vast tonnage of lower grade ore. Fifty extra stamps were ordered to be added to the existing 10-stamp mill.

In 1905, East Gwanda Mines Ltd acquired the undertakings of the mine from the West Nicholson Gold Mining Co Ltd. The railway line from Gwanda to West Nicholson line was completed in the same year. Mine milled ores were shipped by train from the Geelong and Jessie mines.

By 1908 it was a 60-stamp mill. There were about a hundred Europeans there, a resident doctor, a native hospital, and a hotel. The mine closed in 1911.