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A MINING REVIVAL., Issue 8040, 17 October 1889
A MINING REVIVAL.
That there should be a revival of the gold mining industry in Otago is only the natural outcome of events that have been foreseen by all who have given to the subject due study and consideration. That the country was only “ scratched over” in the early days has been so repeatedly declared that the phrase has almost passed into a proverb. Before its resources had been fairly explored our mining population were drawn away by discoveries in Marlborough, at the West Coast, and, in a lesser degree, at the Thames goldfield. We are now just beginning to realise the fact that from the coast to the centre, and from the centrestill farther westward, Otago is one extensive goldfield. Exploration has revealed new quartz lodes, and demonstrated beyond a doubt that the sands of the sea beaches—as at Waipapa—the bottoms of the rivers, the terraced banks on their margins, and the lake washes of the valleys all abound in gold. And now the difficulty arises—-and it assumes larger proportions every day—as to where sufficient capital is to be found for the adequate development of our auriferous wealth. We had occasion to warn the public a short time since against rash speculation, and the warning is now more urgently required. There is no excuse for imprudent ventures. When mines at Reefton and Hokitika and Coromandel were floated on the money market, our people eagerly invested in them on the faith of mere rumor and common report. Distance prevented personal inspection, and “ lent enchantment to the view.” Here it is different, There is hardly a mine which is not within a day’s, or, at most, two days’, march. Intending investors can visit and form their own opinions ; and it will be well if they do so: for it is certain that speculators will promote the formation of many bogus companies, to the loss of investors and the serious detriment of bona fide ventures. One swallow does not make a summer, neither does the fact of one good mine being discovered evince the existence of a hundred others. Especially is this the case with lode mining. No quartz vein is ever equally rich throughout. Despite all the light thrown on the subject by savants and scientists —despite also lengthened experience in California, Australia, and New Zealand —very little is yet certainly known as to the origin and manner of gold deposits in the rock foundation. One thing experience does tell us—that there is no positive continuity in gold-bearing lodes or veins. On the contrary, they are more frequently found to be “ bunchy, as if the natural forces that have injected or precipitated—whichever it may be—the metal into or in the rock had operated under more favorable conditions, and with greater force, in some parts than in others. At Old Bendigo, where the quartz reefs extended from the Victoria Reef at Golden Point to Sailor Gully—nearly five miles in a regularly straight direction—not all the mines were equally rich; but between them there were desert patches, barren of the golden ore. Such, also, has been the case with some of the best known and richest reefs in Otago. Many quartz claims, yielding good gold at the surface, have entirely “ petered out,” because they were not true lodes, but only fragments of' lodes contained in the gigantic “ slides ” of glacial days, and consequently not possessing continuity of depth. Our present knowledge of the Nenthorn reefs is limited; but, judging from their position, they afford every indication of being true lodes. If a line is struck from Hindon (where, by the way, some very promising veins were opened up in the early sixties, and abandoned because of ignorant mismanagement), through Nenthorn to Mount Highlay, if will be found that there is at least a continuity of direction; so that there is at least a probability of a permanent reefing district of great extent being developed. Nevertheless, it does not follow that every mile will be equally valuable as gold-bearing property. It is necessary, therefore, that investors should satisfy themselves of the depth and width of the stone before incurring any great expenditure. Prospecting there must be to prove this, and prospecting involves a certain amount of expense. So far expenditure is timate and necessary. But it will be very unwise to lay out any large sums of money in machinery before the conj tinuance of any given lode is assured by full exploration and trial It is very wide of our intention to discourage the extension of mining which has set in. Our object is to encourage bona fide ventures, which, after trial, offer fair investments for capital But nothing could be more injurious, or more seriously tend to check the development and progress of mining industry, than the indulgence in rash and ill-considered speculations. The common tendency of mankind is to “ haste to be rich ”; but the old proverb, tl The more haste the less speed, comes in opportunely in this consideration. Nothing will be lost to the country, but much will be saved to the individual, by a cautious and prudent course. “ Prove ail things; hold fast that which is good,” was the judicious advice of one of old; aud it applies to things temporal as well as to things spiritual. It is our hope that a new era of mining prosperity, far exceeding the feverish flush of the sixties, has at last dawned
upon Otago. Nothing can hinder it but bogus schemes and “wildcat” speculations, and with it will come back a large proportion of the mining population that too hastily quitted our district, beguiled by the glittering attractions of new and distant fields. We have no doubt—we never had a doubt—that the future of Otago would be a bright one. And it would seem that in the turn of events the sun of an assured prosperity is dawning upon us. In pastoral pursuits, in agriculture, and in gold mining—our three great and real “ local industries ” —and as a necessary sequence, not yet fully felt by trade and commerce, a genuine revival is overtaking the long-suffering people of this colony. And those of our own little corner have abundant reason to be satistied with the prospect opening before them, lly the exercise of ordinary prudence and judgment that bright prospect will become a brighter and more tangible reality; and if this timely warning operates in the way of preventing a foolish waste of money on inadequately-tested speculations, the result must be ultimately beneficial to the community. Money rashly thrown away in ill-chosen ventures leaves so much less for expenditure on legitimate mining operations. Therefore, in the cause of the general welfare, wo once more ventilate the legal maxim —Caveat emptor !
A MINING REVIVAL., Issue 8040, 17 October 1889
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