Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

How our Mines are Managed.

The ' Australian Trading World' of June 7 publishes the following communication from a " leading mining engineer" at Duncdin : Some of the non-payable mines here would 1)3 rendered payable and sufficiently remunerative if they had au efficient management, but they are of that commodity (I embrace managing directors and mine managers). In many cases theminemmigera chosen arc good, practical, hard - working miners, used to "hammer and drill," holding a " nozzle," working in a " head or tail lace," but they occasionally lack the education of the other important branches of mining, such as the erection and dosigning of suitable machinery, a material item, the resnlt being—they have to trust to engineering firms who can manufacture a certain kind of machinery, but who are not experienced in the speciality or the improvements continually required in the manipulation and treatment of the different grades of mineral in question. There is another gravo error aometimes committed—viz.: If any circular of new invention for treatment of minerals is published through the colonies, it is considered fashionable in some mining companies to adopt same. These mine managers' opinion is solicited —the latter in many instances never saw the machine, and not qualified to judge, but ascertaining the feeling of the enthusiastic directors (to oblige them in their fads) readily acquiesces. The new machinery is purchased and erected sometimes at great expense, with the result in a plurality o-f cases—a total failure; tho machinery not being applicable to tho treatment of the ore ; this is the issue of crass ignorance on both side?, and has been exemplified in a few instances these last twelve months where the defective machinery has been thrown out, and is lying rusting upon the surface. Thji c mid all have been paved by employing a qualified resident expert to report upon proper applianoes, Hence, in many instances, similar egregious blunders are committed and failures are the result. The prevailing opinion at home in those instances that the mine is not payable or tho shareholders have been victimised, this has been caused through misapprehensions being sent Home, where the reckless mistakes) committed. In my opinion there is too much power given to what are hero termed " colonial managing directors" out here representing Home companies. In majority of instances they are thoroughly unqualified for the responsible position entrusted to them, and ignorant entirely of the duties required in connection with the detailed mine management. They are entirely guided by men little better than themselves, altho' the former "managing director" may bo good ordinary business men still unsuitable to guide the necessary works, hence a pollapso occasionally occurs to the chagrin of the Home shareholders. I know of many mines in N.2. in a similar {osition as already stated, and being what should term "strangled" through ignorance and want of judgment combined with practical knowledge. In fact, if the underground workings of some mines were disolosed upon paper, and the mode of working exemplified it would strike with astonishment the mind of the youthful tyro of mining engineering. In many cases the landing of ore upon surface costs from one to four times the " breaking out." On hard blasting ground, by the cobstant rehandling of ore on some of the sluicing claims, want of judgment has been displayed in the first opening out or commencement of operations. Many claims are rendered valueless through "tail races" being brought up "too shallow" for the "deep ground." This state of affairs are found out when too late to remedy without considerable expense in tho reconstruction of new tail race coming in at a lower level, and rer 3 niring tho removal of thousands of tonß of ebris or tailings (brought down by the former operations) before the mine can be put into working order again, the consequence is, the owners at this juncture obtain the serviocs of an expert (what they ought to have done at the commencement) to relieve tbem of their difficulties; tho

(expert) examines and lays bare the whole affair, gives t' 1( " ( no ' ll small item), this in some instances, intimidates the owners, and in many instances, eventually abandon the task as hopeless for the present. This could have all been remedied in the first instance if a proper method had been pursued in testing the ground by careful " bores," noting the depths and underlie of variouj strata, examining the natural features of the surface, taking necessary levels, reducing the whole to a suitable drawing, embracing cross and longitudinal sections and plans, shewing the drop or run of the auriferous alluvial drift, and placing the matter honestly and fairly before the shareholders for their approval or otherwise. By adopting these means, it restores confidence to the undertaking it creates an incentive in the minds of the shareholders that they take an interest in the venture and matters work smoothly; these items, altho' minute in themselves, it is astonishing how they tend to the prosperity of the mine in question and those in connection therewith.

This is no overdrawn picture, theie is ground in Otago at present similar to what I have described only waiting for capital to step in, and place it in good working order again, and there are no ordinary siz3 mining areas, but there is sufficient work to employ numbers of miners for tho next hundred years ; and, again, the ground is of a high payable average, in some instances going as high as 1 to 2 dwts to the load, and more sometimes down to as low as 5 to 7 grains, and thousands upon thousands of tons removeable at that. This state of affairs are a serious matter to a gold mining community, when we take into consideration with the present improved hydraulic machinery and appliances, gravel deposits lying at a depth of 150 to 200 ft from the surface, are profitably treated in Otago for a return of gold valued at 2d per cubic yard (equal to about 1 grain of gold). Now all these errors in a great measure could bo remedied and obviated if the Home companies mutually combined would appoint a mining engineer and expert to be their colonial representative consulting engineer, to be paid a respectable salary; the cost to each company would be inconsiderable, compared to the advantages gained, and save companies much present annoyance and needless expense. At all events, I am thoroaghly convinced it would improve matters greatly, it would be the business of the above engineer to make a monthly or quarterly visit to tho various mines, note what work and progress made since last visit, observe that the mine was properly opened out. Designing the requisite machinery required and applicable to the material to be treated, have same tendered for and erected under his supervision, attend to the ordering of all important mining material—having practical experience, would enable him to purchase in the cheapest markot. The colonial directors to look after the finances, and authorise payment of wages and accounts, and confer with the engineer upon matters in general. The mine manager tobosubservientinagreat measure to theconsuiting engineer, the latter having tho greatest responsibility and the both consult as to the future economical working, and generally conserve the company's intereste. The consulting engineer to forward to Home directors, quarterly or half-yearly, full particulars of works carried on, embodied in a report, accompanied with plan of present and future operations. By this method many vexatious and maladministrations would be saved, and the cost of tho visiti ing engineer would not amount to a large sum to each company, and matters would be arranged methodically. It would prevent the system sometimes adopted, aud no doubt experienced (in cases of reckless mismani agement caused by non-practibility) of for- ! warding Home glowing reports, couched [ in such enigmatical abstruse language, that tries to give the impression that the venture is a success, still raises a doubt there is something amiss a kind of labyrinthical document, tempered with a slight effusion of reality. In appointing a mining expert, he considers his reputation is his living, and by his honesty of judgment means increase of clients. His [ name is always before the public as a guarantee of good faith and so forth. There U one other important item I would suggest —i.e., that the consulting mining engineer, with his regular qualifications must combine colonial experience of no mean degree, this being a great advantage, as he is acquainted with the various timber, its uses, and other like commodities, and the usual colonial " application of temporary expedients," if 1 may term such, that is sometimes adopted in tho mining regions, to facilitate the work until the proper appliances come to hand. This proposition of mine will perhaps not meet with the approval of some, but it is nevertheless the truth, and no doubt will be borne out by some of the New Zealand colonists at present in England, but I can state from observation and experience, that any Home engineer, altbo 1 clever iu his profession, would find himself in many instances lamentably, deficient on account of want of "co'.onial experience," which sometimes takes years tc attain by actual contact, and especially required in colonial mining engineering. Many may think in disseminating my views that I am decrying the mineral resources of New Zealand, such is not the case, my ambition is to foster the undertaking, and establish upon a sound and substantial basis. From my residence and experience gained by travelling over many parts of New Zealand, I eau vouch from observation that the mineral wealth of the colony is not by any means exhausted yet, and every day develops discoveries that will take years to exhaust, even by the present population. Even within the last few months, a goldfield (viz., the Nenthorn, about sixty miles from Dunedin) of some extent has been discovered in Otago, that, if present prospects continue, will probably eclipse anything in New Zealand for years past. Leases have been taken up extending three square miles, and in those leases gold visible to the naked eye is showing in the reefs and leaders discovered ; this will give an idea of the reticulation of the reef system, thickness of reefß varying from 2ft to 4ft Gin, aud proved downwards. When we consider gold amounting to 144,000,000 has been entered for export to date from the little colony of Now Zealand, not taking into contemplation the gold used for | various puiposes in tho colonies, and when Otago, only one of the provinces, has nearly yielded L 18.000.000 of the above amount, and not one-tsnth of the province prospected, it might be said, in mining parlance, " just scratched," very very few shafts exceeding 200 ft in depth, and then the recent discoveries of immense deposits, of manganese and other mines, combined with the opening out and exploration of the large area comprising the tin mines, it is an indisputable fact there is a grand future awaiting tho colony of New Zealand, with its still hidden mineral resources, frozen meat trade, wool, cereals, timber, and other products, coupled with one of the most salubrious climates in the world, the genealily of which produces some of the finest stock and racehorses in the colonies; then again, no crop droughts, no cattle famines, nothing but stern results, engendered by energy and perseverance, which crowns success.

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

Bibliographic details

How our Mines are Managed., Issue 7969, 26 July 1889

Word Count

How our Mines are Managed. Issue 7969, 26 July 1889

  1. New formats

    Papers Past now contains more than just newspapers. Use these links to navigate to other kinds of materials.

  2. Hierarchy

    These links will always show you how deep you are in the collection. Click them to get a broader view of the items you're currently viewing.

  3. Search

    Enter names, places, or other keywords that you're curious about here. We'll look for them in the fulltext of millions of articles.

  4. Search

    Browsed to an interesting page? Click here to search within the item you're currently viewing, or start a new search.

  5. Search facets

    Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.

  6. View selection

    Switch between images of the original document and text transcriptions and outlines you can cut and paste.

  7. Tools

    Print, save, zoom in and more.

  8. Explore

    If you'd rather just browse through documents, click here to find titles and issues from particular dates and geographic regions.

  9. Need more help?

    The "Help" link will show you different tips for each page on the site, so click here often as you explore the site.