The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, OCTOBER 22, 1888. A MARKET FOR OUR COAL.
In every direction tho outlook for New Zealand is brightening. Wheat and frozen mutton are now commanding remunerative prices, our dairying manufactures are coming into favor and demand, and there is room to hope that ere long tho reduction of the American tariff on wool will help considerably tho prospects of our wool growers. Concurrently with all this it now seems that there is a good market for our coal m a direction not hitherto contemplated, and if thie can bo availed of it should give a great impetus to tho coal mining iDdustry of the West Coast of this islana. Wq gain our information on this subject from tho Wellington " Evening Post," which m turn has obtained it from Mr George Armstrong, manager of the Union Iron Works, San Francisco, the largest manufactory on the Pacific Coast, who is interesting himself m tho matter of establishing a coal trade with New Zealand. Writing upon the subject our contemporary says that tho local coal measures of California are of littlo value, and it has been to a largo extent dependent upon New South Wales for its coal supply. " The strike amongst the Australian colliers has naturally caused somo disarrangement m San Francisco, which is so largely dependent for fuel on the product of their labour, and .... attention is being directed to New Zealand as a possible source of supply. The quantity of coal imported from Great Britain is not large, but orders have been sent thither to prevent disappointment from Australia. . . . Tho Californian
market is a lurgo ono, and well worthy the attention of our colliery owners. . . . During tho month of August last wo notice that tho total import to San Francisco was 188,414 tons, of which 56,521 tons were from Newcastle. There were ulbo large importations to San Diego and Pan Pedro, the latter the port of Lob Angeles, where at one time during the month there wore 13 coal-laden vessels from Australia discharging. Tho August price of coal m San Francisco was 14 dollars por ton, but owing to the Newcastle strike an immediate rise to 1 6 dollars was anticipated. During the winter months tho prico, we learn, generally touches 20 dollars, the ton being reckoned as 2000lbs At an average price of 14 dollars a ton, New Zealand coal should yield a very handsome profit delivered m San Francisco, despite tho import duty of 50 cents per W. " The " Post " thinks that New Zealaad colliery owners Bhould bo able to competo on favorable termß with Newcastle, even if full work should shortly be ro sumed there, and pointß out that for gas-making purposes, our West Coast coals are certainly superior, and- tho demand for this purpose is very largo throughout California, as tho local and British Columbian coals, which at present divide tho market with tho Australian, are decidedly inferior." Wo agree with our contemporary that tho present seems an excellent opportunity for Now Zealand toj enter this now market and establish a coal trado with Californian ports. It is one of which our coal mine owners Bhould not be slow to tako advantage—lt is, however, added that the coal trade m han Francisco is at prosent controlled by a syndicate or "trust" and that New Zealand coal exporters will "probably find it desirable to establish an agency of thoir own, and to deal direct with the trade and consumers,"