Chat around the Fire

Dredging for gold!

We talk with Allan Birchfield

Gold miner Allan Birchfield shows us around the Grey River Gold Dredge. It’s a first for me Coasters and at 3,500 tons and 6 stories high, the dredge is just stunning.

Birchfield Minerals operate the largest remaining alluvial bucket gold dredge in the world at Ngahere on the West Coast. They purchased the dredge in August 1992.

Birchfield operated the dredge up until around 2004 and then it lay idle before being recommissioned in 2009, working through to 2012. It was mothballed again in 2012 due to falling gold prices. Director Allan Birchfield said with gold at close to $3,000 an ounce in 2020, the dredge has become very viable once again.

Allan’s family has a long history of working in coal and gold mines and sawmills on the West Coast.

Have a listen to Allan here. He tells a very interesting story.


Bruce Smith

Dredging for gold!