Story: Fertiliser industry

Nauru after phosphate mining

Nauru after phosphate mining

For many years New Zealand and other countries mined guano (bird droppings, rich in phosphate) from the Pacific island of Nauru. After the First World War, the League of Nations made Britain, Australia and New Zealand trustees over Nauru. The British Phosphate Commission was formed in 1919 with rights to phosphate mining. Nauru gained independence in 1968, but by then most of the phosphate had been stripped. Now 80% of the island is a wasteland of jagged limestone pinnacles up to 15 metres high. Australia has responsibility for rehabilitating these areas.

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Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: AANR 6329 26 DA32,743

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How to cite this page:

Ants Roberts, 'Fertiliser industry - What is fertiliser?', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 November 2020)

Story by Ants Roberts, published 24 Nov 2008