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THE BLUE SPUR MINES.

MR BROWN'S EXPLANATIONS,

Mr Brown, at the meeting of the Tuapeka shareholders in the abovj on Thursday, Bald that most of them would be aware that all the aeoounts of the company to the end of March ' had passod through the local audit office, and, |! htd been sent to London. The local; Board < Went through the accounts that tho auditor (Mr | Leary) had passed, because, apart from ths i 1 auditor, the local Board themielves were aorhd- ' what responsible to the. London Boajd. He ' (Mr Brown) took the preseut opportuuity of { speaking on this matter, as.it was the moßt '. opportune, Their obligations to the different companies ~jn, regard to the balances of ' the oaoh,, purchases were now complete—a fact which . roust be gratifying to all under the verjr extraordinary circumstances in which the' Company" were placed by snony mous and other imamous correspondents from Lawrence. That correspondence had fed the effect of preventing the from getting the money necessary to,, meet their obligations on the 3rd April Jant,,,, However, ijhey had beon able to do that,since, at a rate of interest not exceeding 8 per cent., which, he thought ; would be ; ,was a very reasonable rate on mining property, There was not the slightest, doubt the security was< of the very best kind. H« said this.. fully yeoognising the responsibility which he had .undertaken all through—viz., that the properties were of,,the most valuable nature if worked with efficiency and the very best possible management The results under these circumstances would, he was sure, satisfy all those inves* tors who. expected to get a fair return for their capital He was certain that the information he had to stibmit to' the 1 meeting would be of a kind not only surprising but very gratifying, A great deal had been heard! about the " loading "of the company. He woul# say—and everything he stated he had documents with, him to prove, which wore open to the shareholders—that the total sharelist was 73,887, including every shareholder whether of one share or of 3,000 shares, and also inoluding the shares allotted to' the Blue Spur holders. That was the total furnished him by the Board in London at his own request; and, referring" to the share-list, he could assure the meeting that a great number of hh own friends in England were shareholders, among the number being several parties residing in Macclesfield, his (the speaker s) native town. To him, then, it would be a source of regret if the affairs of the company did tioi go dn well. If tho company during the past year bad been assured of the payableness of the property by the results' of their operations under the circumstances in which they bad labored, he had no hesitation in saying that if the profits had been sent Homo there would have been a return equivalent to 6 or 7 per cent, on capital invested. This must be regarded as veiy gratifying, and especially so when it was remembered that up to this time they had not worked the ground upon which tho prospectus was based. In other words, they had been working ground largely outside the company's lease, and it was just now that they had arrived at the spot where the gold was. When he said this he spoke from his own knowledge, as he had seen tho gold previous to the totting in of the hard frost which lately occurred. They had laid bare on the reef all that had been washed out by the nozzle, whioh was the regular way of working, and it was generally understood that when the water from the nozzle was directed with the usual force and closeness, that very little, if any, of the gold was Itft. He had the assurance of the manager that, in picking up the reef, which generally was not considered worth while employing labor on, they would have 40oz or 50oz of gold that would otherwise have been lost. Their head races at the present time wore blocked up with the frost, which had been more intense during the past fortnight than had beon the case since 1862-the year of Hartley and Riley's rush. Last year they had an abundance of water, and no doubt in the time to come it would be equally abundant. As they ail knew, the frost had compelled them to discontinue work for the past fortnight, thus preventing thorn from lifting fully lOOoz of gold now lying in the bottom of the claim and in the boxes. He desired at this stage to mention that onehalf of the company's work—nearly all they had done up to the prosent timo—had been in ground which had been worked by their predecessors, the Tailings Company. This was a necessity, as the drainage of that company was blocked when the Consolidated Company took possession, and the ground could not be got at without the removal of the debris. To enable the ground where they were now at work to be reached, from 20ft to 60ft of tailings had to be removed. Then, up to the present time, the cost of the water to the extent of L 745 10s, supplied chiefly by the Waipori Company, had to come ontof the yield of gold. Labor had also to be paid for, and a channel had to be cat through tho solid rock, varying in thickness from sft to Oft. The manager said that half the company's labor up to the present timo had been employed in removing the debris, constructing the channel, and doing other permanent work. So that if they had been enabled up to the present timo to show that only half their exertions bad been on ground yielding gold, and that the other half had been on ground yielding no gold, for the reasons which he bad stated, tbe results of their operations could not be regarded as other than satisfactory. It was imperative that these permanent works should ba constructed, and especially so under the circumstances in which the claim was left by tho original company, the drainage ohannel having been blocked up It might be asked: Could not this have been foreseen by the Consolidated Company ? His reply wa9, No. The companies who had properties to sell know for fully twelve months that these properties would pass out of their hands, and on that account they did not exercise the same carefulness in looking after them, because they had not the same interest in them. He would say in the presence of tho owners that during that twelve months all the properties had been neglected; they had not been looked after with the same care as would have been the case had they to remain in the hands of the original owners. Of course it was quite natural that, expeoting a sale, and under the circumstances, they wero not desirous of laying out money unnecessarily. He repeated and defied contradiction that all the properties were more or less neglected during the twelve months prior to tbe Consolidated Company acquiring them. Their main expense was chiefly in connection with the Tailings Company, who had previously had a similar experience in the blockage of their drainage channel, which entailed a considerable outlay to put in working order. That company knew tbe expense and were working their way up gradually. He would not say that the blockage was intentional on their part, because it was one of those unforeseen contingencies for which provision had to be made, The fact, nevertheless, remained that the Consolidated Company had a difficulty to contend with ; this had been overcome and the work constructed was of a character which wonld last over all time.

The channel, as they all knew, was an important factor in getting the gold ; therefore the company had to take their time to bring it up to the spot where they were now at work. Of course all this meant the expenditure of a lot of money, which, unfortunately for the shareholders who were expecting dividends, came out of the gold produced by the mine instead of out of capital amount. In regard to the management of the mine, he had given it his closest attention, being on the ground directing operations daily while in Lawrence. The members of the Board, who had been associated with him, had also been most energetic. Their desire had been to economise in every way, reduoing the expenses, and resisting the demands made on the funds of the company by different people. They were looked upon by certain people as fair game for plunder, and he and his colleagues had resisted that successfully. In one instance in particular they resisted a claim for water, reducing the amount from Ll3O to LBO, and he expeoted to be abused for this as long as he lived. It was only right that those whn bad put money into the pockets of the original claimowners should have the clearest information possible with regard to the affairs of the company. He could say that, bearing of the dissatisfaction expressed at Home with regard to the non-receipt of dividends, he had been in communication with London, and he had insisted that the Board there should send out some competent man to report on everything belonging to the company. He had correspondence in his possession showing that a gentleman, a well-known mining engineer, who was in England in November, but now in New Zealand, residing not far from Lawrence, undertook on behalf of several of his friends, who were shareholders in the company, to inspect and report upon the property if the Board would give him. an official letter. The London Board replied that they would not like to do this,.as it might irritate the local' Board, and allow the inference to be drawn that they had no confidence in them. They, however, offered him a letter of introduction to the managing director (Mr Brown), who would give every information, and afford every I facility for the preparation of a report as to the value of the property and &b to its management. That gentleman came and saw for himself, spending a day at the mine, ; and on hia return he said he was greatly pleased i that ho had visited the mine on account of his friends in England, who were large share-1 holders. In hia report, he admitted that from an economical point of view the method pur-

su'cif W. Sboi .working of the mine wag the best, and he felt tmft Mtice was being done to the property. Another genfflemffiy also a mining engineer, from New South' Waro?,' inspected tbe works, as he was desirous of ectibkg the system of mining carried on, and he, too, e.iptefteed' his confidence in the way in which things Were" being conducted; at least that waß what m told Sir Robert, whom he saw in Dunedin. Shortly afterwards, for some reasons unknown to him (Mr Brown), fair Walter Duller cabled to Major Mair, the Native interpret-r in the House of Representatives, appointing him as inspeotor of the Consolidated Company at a salary of L3OO per annum, with an aUowance of LW for travelling expenses. Major Mftir, however, who is a brother-in-law of fair Walter Buljer's, would not accept the appointment,, but thoughtthe next best thing he could do. wfls to get Sir Walter to appoint Mr Howard Jackson, ft surveyor, then at Hamilton, and also a brtffcher-hvlaw of Major Mair, as well as Sir W. Euller. Mr Hovvafd Jackson came down here in January, and the first thing'he did was to ask him (Mr Brown) for a cheque. This he refused at first to give, but subsequently he paid him, allowing him his salary from the' thne he left Hamilton in January and his travelling} expenses, although Mr Jackson wanted to lbs paid from the date of his appointment, some ;time in December, Up to the 21st of this month (June), Mr Jackson would draw L 159 18s 7d, and for that what bad he done ? Why, nothing—smYpty'riotfrinfl. He was no earthly use to them—iff fact, hff Was moie of a |;hindrance than anything eke; for be drew his salary (LI a day) for doln£ nptbing. And even when he was" auKed to' do any- [ thing, as happened once or twice,- his' charge wasL2 2s a day, over and above 1 Ma salary, for surveying. Of course, he (Mr Browa) and I his colleagues on the Board could not tolerate ■ that kind of thing any longer, and tbey took upon themselves to dispense with his (Mr Jacksou's) services, giving" him a month's notice, which would expire at' the end of the present month. Sir Robert Stout, as well as himself, was displeased with the way things were carried on by the London Board, and had made up their minds hfrt to act under the present arrangei ments on frehtrif of the company any longor. Sir Robert StoUt had sent Home his resignation, but he (Mr Brown) thougfit it would show a Bign of weakness on his sart if he withdrew until the whole of the financial arrangements had been satisfactorily completed, especially as the various compaqies (so he was informed in' a letter he got from Mr Arbuckle) looked to him to fulfil tfeeiir engagements; and these, he was pleased for s»y, had since been fulfilled to the satisfaction of f&e parties interested. The companies whose interests' bad' been acquired were the Tuapeka and Waiporf Water Companies, the Otago Company, Kelson Company, Perseverance Company, and the Tailings Company. Under an efficient and economical system of management these amalgamated properties would return good interest on the Capital invested; and the local owners, who held a third interest, should see to it that their property was Worked to advantage and made of the greatest valite. They should put aside all feeling—whether it was potft'ieal or personal, or whether it. arose from jealoaey—and Bhould work together to make the most of their property, which was every bit as valuable now as when tliey disposed of it to the Home people, He would now come to the gold returns from the mine, for the past fifteen months ', and these he thought they would all admit were really gratifying. Up to date the value of the gold banked by the Consolidated Company was L 7.760 lis, and there was,still about 100 .£ of gold to be chipped up from 1 toe reef and the boxes, which the frost at present prevented them from lifting, which woold bring the aotual valtte of the gold up to L 8.135 lis. Now, they would want to know what became of all this moneyhow it had been handled. Well, a great deal of it—the half of it, he might say—instead of goinjr into the shareholders' pookets in the shape of divivends had to go towards«pening up the mine—in constructing permanent works, providing new machinery, ets., the cost of which should have come out oi. capital account. His engagement with tho London board was that L 5,000 waff to be placed to the credit of No. 2 capital account, instead of which only L 750 was pro-vided-LSOO in March, 188S, and L 250 in the month of June following. Ho had an abstract of tho balance-sheet in his hand, which showed that L4,7(i'J 13s 7d had been drawn from the earnings of tho mine, which should have cone in dividends, and which sbottld have been chargeable to the capital (No. 2) acibtrnt. The itenw were:—Wages and permanent Works, 1,1,910 9a 6J; water purchased, L 745 ltblOd; plant and timber, L 449 0s 4d ; stationery, etc.,Ll6' 16s 8d; building and office furniture, L 29 19a 6d; safe and letter-press, L2l; towards purchase of Extended Company, L 200; interest to Morrison and Blue Duck Company's, L1273s 2d; Ota?o Company (labor account), L4ll8s; No. 2 account (labor), L 483 4s 10£ d; stamp duty on purchase, L 132 lis 6d ; law charges, L 405 19a 2d: property tax, L 20- giving a total of 1.4,76913s 7d In addition to the foregoing they had cable charges, which were very heavy, amounting to L27412s lOd, which merely included the charges from this colony. Then there was Mr Jackson's salary and travelling expenses, L 159 18s 7d. The amount to the credit of the operating account (No. 1) at the present time was L58819s sd. while No. 2 was overdrawn to the extent of L 279 16s 9d The difference between the receipts (L 8.135 lis) and the expenditure (L4.76913s 7d), les» the amount to credit of No. 1 account (LSBB 19s 4d), was swallowed up by wages, wear and tear of machinery, and other incidentals. These figures really showed that every half-ounce of every ounce of gold taken out of the mine was profie—a most gratifying and surprising result. —'Tuapeka Times.'

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Bibliographic details

THE BLUE SPUR MINES., Evening Star, Issue 7947, 1 July 1889

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THE BLUE SPUR MINES. Evening Star, Issue 7947, 1 July 1889

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