OUR MINES AT HOME.
THE BLUE SPUR CONSOLIDATED COMPANY. From Our London Correspondent, j London, Jane 28. Mr C. E. Haughton arrived in the city on Saturday last, and on Monday I had the pleasure of renewing his acquaintance. He told me that he had received a power of attorney from Mr J. C. Brown, authorising him to act for him in the matter of the Blue Spur Company, but as no instructions came with the document it would simply be folly for him to attend the general meeting of shareholders. By the way, I have heard that it has been concluded in the colony that Mr Howard Jackson was appointed inspector and was afterwards made general manager of the mines because he is a connection by marriage of Sir Walter Duller. Now, as a matter of fact, Sir Walter had nothing whatever to do with the selection. When the crisis arose, i.t. , when the Londoaßoard were frantic and dismayed because they could not obtain news of any kind from Mr Brown, they cabled out to a mining engineer of high repute in the colony, asking him to become their inspector. This gentleman replied that he could not act, but he suggested Mr Jackson as a suitable man, and as being at “ a loose end ’’ just then. The Board here accepted the hint, appointed Mr Jackson, and have (as the chairman stated at the lust meeting of shareholders) every reason to be satisfied with their choice. They have, it seems, obtained more information about their property within the past three months than they did in the previous fifteen, and they feel at last that things are in thoroughly energetic hands. It is not pretended that Mr Jackson is a mining expert; indeed, he disclaims any such qualification himself. Hut he is known to bo a capable man—the very one for a position of trust and responsibility ; the sort of man the shareholders want at the present moment; one who will tell them exactly how they stand, and who will give a reliable forecast for the future. My notice has been directed to certain statements concerning the Blue Spur in my letter to the Dunedin Evening Star of the 14th May, and I understand that an interpretation has been put upon them which they were never intended to bear. In stating that numerous angry letters had been sent in to the office after the meeting at which Sir Robert Stout was attacked by Dr Cameron, and chivalrously defended by the chairman, I did not say, nor did I imply, that these letters contained reflections upon the conduct of Sir Robert Stout. The one from Major Boulcott certainly did, and, as I stated in my letter, this had been forwarded by the chairman to Sir Robert Stout in order that he might deal with it himself. I have never seen this letter, or, indeed, any of the letters received at the office; but one cannot help knowing of matters that are freely discussed among the irate shareholders. For example, Major Boulcott, who is co-operating with Dr Cameron, makes no secret of the terms in which he characterised the proceedings in New Zealand, with which he directly connected Sir Robert Stout, I was informed at the office that Major Boulcott, taking alarm at the course adopted by the Board, afterwards withdrew the more offensive parts of his letter; and I accordingly mentioned the fact in my letter, although I do not think it is generally known here. If I reported just one half of what ono hears out of doors among disappointed or incensed shareholders, my letters would bristle with very ugly things ; but I have always thought it safer, and fairer to all the parties concerned, to correct such information by inquiries at the head office, where I have always met with courtesy and candor. So far as Sir Robert Stout is concerned, I am not aware that any of the letters, except the one I have mentioned, had any reference to him, nor did I suggest anything of the kind. It is matter of common talk, however, that very rough things have been written to the Board aneut the alleged misrepresentations of Mr J. C. Brown, acting as the agent of the vendors, when he floated the Blue Spur Company in this market. It is stated here, on the authority of letters from New Zealand, that the prospectus is full of misstatements as to matters of fact; but as this is likely soon to be a subject of inquiry in the Law Courts, there is nothing to be gained by my saying more about it. In order to show your readers that my sources of information are varied, I will tell you a little story that has not yet reached the ears of the directors of this company. It seems that some little time ago Mr Brown, with the object of setting himself right with the Loudon Board, directed Mr Rawlins, C.E., to report on the condition of the Blue Spur mines and the work that had been done during the year. In due time his report came home. It was prodigiously lengthy, thorough, exhaustive, and an encouraging document. On its face it showed that the expert must have spent at least a month in inspecting the mines. Since then a shareholder here has heard from the district that as a matter of fact no such minute inspection was made. If the report which is current is a malicious story, invented to injure either Mr Brown or the gentleman employed by him, the authors of it should be held up to public scorn. Certainly its truth or falsity should be proved at once. The general meeting ot the company takes place on July 5, when it is not improbable that some questions will be put to the Board anent this matter. I fancy they will be a good deal taken aback, as at the time it arrived Mr Rawlins’s report was issued to the shareholders and comforted everybody greatly. THE ANTIMONY COMPANY. Notwithstanding the hostile criticism of the ‘Financial News’ (inspired by a promoter whose terms tho New Zealand Antimony Company were unable to agree to), the Queen Charlotte Gold Mining Company appears to have a fair prospect of going through. New Zealand ventures generally are, of course, at a discount; in fact, in financial circles the very name of the colony stinks. Still, the promoter who is arranging matters seems hopeful. He has insisted, however, on the capital being reduced from L2OO 000 to L 130.000, which means that shareholders in the Antimony Company, instead of getting share for share in the Queen Charlotte mine, will only get one share in tho latter for every two they hold in the former. I am rather amused to see the way in which some of the corrupt financial papers abase Sir W. Buffer anent the floating ot this Queen Charlotte Company. One might really think he had done something criminal in trying to make a good bargain for his shareholders. THE BLUE SPUR MEETING. London, July 13. Owing to the absence of tho chairman of the above company (Sir W. Buffer) on the Continent the annual general meeting was a very formal business. Sir John Stokes officiated in Sir VY. Buffer’s place, but offered no remarks on the report or balance sheet (attached), which was, perhaps, just as well, as nothing very inspiriting could have been said. In presenting these accounts the directors are glad to be able to refer tho shareholders to the comprehensive report of Mr O. O. Rawlins, M.K., F.G.S., which explains fully the satisfactory position and prospects of the company’s undertaking. It will be remembered that he states that up to the date of his report, the 15th April last, thts company “has only been working old worked ground,” and the working account shows, notwithstanding, a profit of L 3,248 Is 2d. Although this amount has been over expended in administration and other expenses, as shown in profit and loss account, the fact must be taken into consideration that the expenditure for interest and water, amounting to L 1.709 2s Bd, is entirely duo to the company’s inability to complete the purchase of the property. Had this not been the case there would have been a profit of L 731 10s 4d. With regaid to the company’s position as to the completion of tho purchase, it having been decided to abandon four out of five of the options (subject to confirmation of the resolution), the liability to the vendors is reduced to L30,2G3 as far as regards the principal, of which amount, L 9,304, will be issued in fully paid up shares, leaving L 20.959 cash to bo provided for. By cable from Sir Robert Stout, of 6th April last, the directors are informed that the Colonial Bank of New Zealand were willing to advance on mortgage at 8 per cent, sufficient to psy off three of the claims, i.c„ to the extent of L 5.599, and subsequently, on the 18th of May, this gentleman again cabled that be could bor-
row to liquidate three other claims to the extent of L 6,460, The directors have authorised Sir Robert Stout to act on bis own discretion in arranging a settlement on this basis, but have jet to learn what is the actual arrangement come to. In effect it leaves the company to provide for 1,9,500 to pay off tne remaining claim, but, as this amount is payable to the Bank of New Zealand, under a deed of covenant, dated the 10th July, 1888, and the bank already hold a mortgage over this property, there is very little doubt but that the time for payment in this case will be extended. It wi!l be borne in mind that the company has a claim against Mr Brown in respect of cash and interest paid, and shares issued on the options, which amounts to L 2,784 lls 7d, and farther interest sines accrued, and that it holds, as guarantee against this gentleman’s liability, 4,800 unallotted shares cue to him under the agreement for purchase. The auditors have painted out that, from the documents p’acal before them, two of the options—viz., Monism. and Co. and the Blua Buck Company—which the company now claim to have abandoned, would appear to have been already assigned to the company, 'ibe doctors believe that these two assignments do not affect the question of the company’s right to abandon the properties, as the correspondence with Sir Robert Stout will show; but, however this may be, the company claims that it has recourse against Mr J. C. Brown foran indemnity. The auditors have also called attention to the fact that the formal vouchers (with one or two exceptions) have not been sent from the colony for the purchase money paid to the vendors. In explanation of this, the directors beg to state that a copy of Sir Robert Stout’s cash account, showing the payments made to the vendors, which is certified by Mr R. H. Leary, the company’s auditor in New Zealand, was produced, together with the copies of the deeds setting forth the amounts to be paid on the execution of such deeds. The amounts as set forth in the deeds agree with the amounts stated in the certified cash account, but as this evidence could not be accepted by the auditors, the general manager will be instructed to send formal vouchors with as little delay as possible. After the Chairman had moved the adoption of the report and balance-sheet, and Mr Gisborne had seconded the motion, Mr Bigland said he desired to refer to one or two matters mentioned in the balancesheet ; he, however, first of all, desired to read a letter from Mr T. J. Horton, who was a large shareholder, in which, after complaining that the meeting was not postponed until Monday, he said that he considered that before the accounts were passed the directors ought to satisfactorily explain the position of the company in regard to the balance of the purchase money due to the vendors, which, according to the balance-sheet, amounted to L 30.263, without taking into account a further amount of L 12.019 due to the vendors in respect of options. The report set forth that the Colonial Bank of New Zealand would advance L 5,999 to pay off three claims, of which names were not specified, on mortgage ; and again on May 18 a report was cabled that he could borrow L 5.460 to liquidate three farther claims, of which the names were not specified. The question was, were the arrangements completed, or were those concerns still willing to advance those sums ? The letter concluded by stating that the writer was of opinion that the meeting ought to be adjourned, and a committee of the shareholders appointed to confer with the directors to ascertain the condition of the company. The Chairman stated, in reply, that the Board certainly understood that the whole amount had been arranged, and it was only subsequently, in a letter they got from Sir Robert Stout, dated May 2, which arrived after their last meeting, that they ascertained that the amount only covered three of the properties. In the same let' er from Sir R. Stout he said he was iu negotiation for three other claims for L 5.460. They had since had a telegram that he made a further arrangement with three other companies. Mr Bigland: Is the arrangement completed ? The Chairman: Quite, as far as we know from telegraphic communication. Mr Bigland: Have you had any further information since the report was sent out ? The Chairman ; No ; they have not bad time to receive a letter, Mr Bigland then moved, as an amendment, that the meeting be adjourned, and that a committee be appointed to confer with the Board. The amendment was not seconded, and fell to the ground, and the motion for the adoption of the report was agreed to. After the election of Mr T. J. Horton as a director of the company, An extraordinary general meeting was held, at which the resolutions passed on June 14 last, authorising the Board to abandon the options given to the company for the purchase of the mining rights of the Blue Duck, Fidelity, North of Ireland, and Morrison’s, and dismissing Mr J. G. Brown, were confirmed.
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OUR MINES AT HOME., Evening Star, Issue 7990, 20 August 1889
OUR MINES AT HOME. Evening Star, Issue 7990, 20 August 1889
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