In view of the work about to be undertaken by large companies in dredging our auriferous rivers and in testing the supposed deep lead at Tinkers, the following extracts from the recently-issued report of Inspector Gordon will be read with interest
There are six dredges at work on the river between the Beaumont and Coal Creeks, some of which are doing remarkably well. The dredges belong to Brazil and party, Bennet and party, Pringle and party, M‘Donald and party, Valentine and party, and Crookston and party; and the steam dredge belonging to M'Queen and Company, that has been for a number of years working on the river above Alexandra, has been taken to pieces and carted down, and is now constructed again to work on the river above Roxburgh. From information received from Brazil and party, they have been working for the last fifteen years on one mile of the river, and they sometimes made as tnuch as Ll3O per man per month, and tho lowest that they ever made has not been under L3O per month. This party state that the reason they cannot get so much gold as they did in former years is that tho accumulation of shingle on tho bed of the river is now so much that it takes a long time to get down to tho payable wash dirt; or, in other words, there is now from sft to Sft of shingle above the gravel-drift that they were working formerly, and this shingle keeps coming into the hole as tho dredging proceeds, and mixes with tho gold-bearing layers, and therefore a much greater quantity of drift-gravel has to be lifted to get the same amount of gold. With regard to what tho owners of the other dredges are making, nothing definite could be learnt; but some of them are doing equally as well as Brazil and party, and all of them are making good wages. Tho whole of the river is taken up in dredging claims; but those who have been dredging on the river for years state that there are miles of the river taken up that would never pay to work with a dredge on account of the rough rocky bottom. A good number of river claims are under protection, pending the testing of the Welman dredger; but there is no longer this excuse, as this dredger has been tested and found to act very well, but the one that was constructed was far too small to work such a rapid-running river as tho Molyneux. The hull for a dredge of this description requires to have a great beam, and also length, in order to have good buoyancy on the water, and leave plenty of room to get a sufficient length of boxes to wash tho lifted material.
There is only a small population at Tinkers, but the average earnings of those who are working claims are larger than on any alluvial diggings in the colony. It is only those who have water rights who can work to advantage, as the large earnings are owing not so much to the richness of the ground as to the system of working. There are five companies or parties of miners, who have head races and a medium supply of water for eight or nine months in the year, and these employ in the aggregate thirty-two men, who work the ground by hydraulic sluicing. During last year the amount of gold obtained by them was 2,8300z, representing a value at L 3 15s per ounce of L10,G12, The average earnings of those employed, supposing they were working every day, Sundays excepted, would therefore bo nearly L 6 7s 7d for each man per week, which is a large wage, especially when it is taken into consideration that they do not always work full time. About two years ago the miners were not aware that the auriferous drift would go so far back into the range, and thought that when once they got back to what they term the granitewash drift the gold would cease, or, at least, that there would not be sufficient in this character of wash drift to pay for working ; but they now find that the auriferous wash drift continues ‘as rich as that which they had previously. What the miners term granite-wash is th(f very old quart drift that is found at St. Bathans, also ou Mount Criffel and Mount Burster. Indeed, this field may extend round the foot of the range for a considerable distance. The same formation occurs at the Drybread diggings, which were considered at one time to be almost worked out.
John Ewing, of St. Batbans, purchased some tirpo ago a mining lease of ten acres that had been held by a ipiner named Foggarty for many years, although scarcely any work has been done, inasmuch as he could get no water to sluice with, as all the available water in the neighborhood had been previously taken up. This ground lies at the foot of the range, between Simes and Morgan’s and the Mountain Race Company’s ground, and is known to contain rich auriferous quartz drift. Since the purchase of this ground, Mr Ewing, with the indefatigable 'onergy which has characterised him in all his former mining ventures, has der tt mined to get water to work the ground in a systematic manner. All the water rights in the district were taken up, and he found that he could not get a constant supply from aay source. He therefore purchased the first right pf water from Thomson’s Creek, which has been held for over twenty years by the Rise and Shine Company, who are working ground on the New Bendigo side of the range. After paying a high price for this water right he got a head-race surveyed at a high level, which gives him 450 ft head oa the surface oi the ground at his claim. He had at the time of my visit thirty-five men employed constructing the race, which is 3ft wide at the bottom, 4ft on top, and has a depth of 20in, with a fall of 24ft per mile. It will have a carrying capacity of over twenty sluice heads, A great deal of it ig roejj: cutting, with high stone wails built
on tho lower side. No expense is spared to jnalce work of a permanent character. When completed it will bo three miles in length. The water-race terminates on the top of a high spur, and from this point the water will be taken in wrought iron pipes, which will be about 50 chains in length, to his claim. He has ordered 55 tons of steel plates from England, and as soon as this arrives will manufacture all the pipes on the ground. Tho main supply pipe is to be 18in in diameter. He has already expended about L 4,000 in connection with this claim, and he estimates, before the pipes, headrace, and tail-race are completed, it will cost about L 7,000. In addition to the abovementioned claim he has also applied for a special claim of sixty acres adjoining the Mountain-race Company’s and his own claim. The whole of this ground is alluvial wash drift, and a portion of it is partially worked. The ground where this special claim is applied for has never been thought much of, or it would have been taken up years ago ; but no doubt Mr Ewing has prospected it to some extent before applying for it. He is the most enterprising alluvial miner in the colony ; and, what is more satisfactory, all his mining claims worked under his own supervision have been made to pay. It is men of Mr Ewing’s stamp that are wanted in the colony, so as to carry on mining on a commercial basis, and show that it is an industry which can be conducted with profit by adopting systematic methods of working.
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MINING PROSPECTS., Evening Star, Issue 8002, 3 September 1889
MINING PROSPECTS. Evening Star, Issue 8002, 3 September 1889
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