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NEW ZEALAND MINING.

[From Our Special Correspondent.]

London, August 7. ADDRESS HY MR SEDDON.

Mr Seddon made his final public appearance in England on Saturday morning, when he spoke at the Cannon street Hotel on tho mining industry of the colony. The meeting was held under the auspices of the recently-formed Incorporated Australasian Chamber of Mines, and there was an excellent attendance, the Stock Exchange being well represented, despite the fact that Saturday during tho summer months is very much of an “ off day ” indeed. Mr John Lowles, M.P., presided, aud, supporting him at the table were tho Hon. W. P. Reeves Sir I Toward Vincent, M.P., Sir Somers Vine’, Sir Westby Perceval, Mr 11. Seton-Karr, M.P., Mr Cecil Cartridge, Mr T. E. Harman, and Mr AY. J. Lavington. In the audience I only noticed one gentleman who is at present Home on business in London in connection with New Zealand mines, and as there is no dearth of colonials Horae on mining dotation business the only conclusion one could arrive at was that they have deserted the town for the country. In introducing Mr Seddon, the chairman seized the opportunity of saying that the Incorporated Australasian Chamber of Mines was registered under the section of the Act that precluded any person making profit out of it, and its object was purely the advancement of colonial mining interests.

On rising to speak Mr Seddon was warmly received, lie prefaced his remarks on mining by explaining his credentials for dealing with the subject. It was in tho capacity of an exMinister of Mines, a portfolio he had held in the New Zealand Government for some years, that he would speak. For some time also ho was a practical miner, and for twenty years had been a registered advocate dealing entirely with matte-sin the Wardens’Courts in the colony. Mr Seddon went on to say that the value of the precious metal exported, which was, of cour.-e, exclusive of that used for various purposes in the] colony, was over £51,000,000. It might be laid that gold was not a recurring crop, and that this large export was no guarantee of the future production of the fields. For this he would say ; that the ground

hj -d been little more than scratched, and mining experts were unanimous in their assurance of the permanence of tho gold-bearing reefs at the deeper levels, and in tho one or two instances where any depth had been reached this judgment was receiving confirmation. Further, it had been considered formerly that no reef canying less than lOdwt to die ton could be worked with profit, but in Australia now dividends were being paid by mines wheie the stone did not average more than sdwt; and in Now Zealand there were tremendous ore bodies carrying more than this that had never been touched. During the past year there had been a slight falling off when compared with the tremendous improvement show for the year ended with the March quarter of 1896, when the return was £1,196,081 compared with £889,545 for 18S5. The ( nglish investc rs, however, had themselves to thank for this reduced output. Thcirexperts had stopped work in many of the principal bullion producers and started to replace the old-fashioned machinery by up-to-date plants. Also they insisted on the sinking of shafts and working

from the dip instead of working up, as had been usually done. While all this was going on it was impossible for them to win gold. He looked forward, however, to an increase in the output next year, and a still further increase the year after. !he speaker then went on to deal with mming laws in Hew Zealand. With regard to the right of the Crown to the minerals in land bought sire; 1875 there could be no possible doubt, hut in the case of land purchased before that time there was a chance of a misconceptio arising, as the position was only defined by the common law, and, although there was no doubt that the right of minerals belonged to the Grown so defined by this, yet there was a chance of some imucent investors purchasing believing that it they r bought the fee simple they acquired the right to the minerals. Fis Government had decided that the position shouM be definitely defined and the mistake rectified, and an Act was therefore introduced last year and passed. In spite of many difficulties the Act met all parties fairly, providing for those who had invested in private law’s bought before 1573, but at the same time recognising the rights of the prospector to whose enterprise the discoveries were made which rendered the land valuable. Under the mining laws of the colony the tenure of a mine from the Government was as g. ol as a freehold. There was not a single case on record since mining was commenced in 1857 where the Crown had refused to renew the rights after the first lease expired. He knew of no case where bona fide development had been made and the jumper had succeeded. Moreover, there was a special provision in the mining laws for application to the Court for these renewals. The other side of the case was that large areas were not allowed to be held without mannin" their holders just waiting for development in adjacent claims, where operations were bcin°actively prosecuted, to increase their holdings’ Another point in favor of the investor in New Zealand mines was that a strike was practically impossible, power resting with the Arbitration Board to make a definite agreement should the Conciliation Board not he able to settle the difficulty. The third section of his subject was W hat are the Future Prospects of the Goldfields ' Up to the present the mining industry in iNcw Zealand had paid an enormous dividend on the annoy spent in actual development, and even on tuo tofal capital a fair percentage had been paid, but there was a tendency to” overca; Pahs.turn, andif itcontinucd theshareholdcra could not expect satisfactory results from mines wuich were altogether over-loaded. The londoners were largely to blame. He had heard of many properties being brought Home with a capital of £59,0j0, a sum which it was well within the powers to piy dividends on. It had been found, however, that they could not he x>'?no°nnn be I j larkefc with a less capital than ±.100,000, and consequently thev were loaded with an extra £ .0,000. He would caution the English investors against ih’s heavy loadin'* It was a question whether they wore goin" fn for speculation or for investment in mines which were likely to give honest returns upon tho capital subscribed. He was in favor of the latter policy, and the Government would be only too glad to send any information to the Australasian Chamber of Mines or to anyone who applied for it, so that they might assist in promoting legitimate mining in the colony. Mr beddon then went onto speak generally" of the resources of New Zealand. He regretted that the great proportion of mining tools in u=e in the colony were of American and not English manufacture. It was a reflection on somebody, and why it should be he could not understand. He thought that such a state of things ought not to go on any longer. He and other) in tho colony would have felt much happier if when they bought mining implements they could have realised that they were benefiting their own people at Home. He should a.way sdo all that lay in his power to bring about closer trade relations with England, and he hoped that they on this side would do their part. In conclusion, he said thit from the time he had arrived in England to his departure ho had received every kindness and hospitality, and it was with a feeling of sadness that he "would leave for the colony again the following day. The colonies and the Mother Country were much more closely in touch than most colonials dreamt, and if the result of tho visit of the Premiers did nothing but draw the bonds even slightly closer they would be well repaid.—(Cheers ) The opportunity was given for the meeting to ask questions of Mr Seddon, and a Mr Lecdbam, who seemed to bo waiting for a chance, got up and asked what wore the prospects of the Bank of New Zealand shareholders? The chairman wanted to ru'e the question out of order, but the Hon Biciard said; “Just let me answer that gentleman. "When the Government backed up the Bank with £2,000,000 they saved the Bank, and prevented the shareholders from being called on at once for tho unpaid capital amounting to a million sterling.” The gentleman who asked the question wanted further to know how the money of the Bank was lost which made it necessary tor the Government to bolster the institution up. but this was going too wide of tho mark, and tho chairman insisted on ruling the question out of order, amidst the merriment of the meeting In answer to an inquiry by Mr Leamington as to how it was that tho English companies had to pay a license of 6d per cent, on tho nominal capital because their articles of association gave them power to carry on business outside of mining. Mr Seddon said there was no such license fee. The 6d per cent, was stamp duty, and could be avoided by confining the articles of association to the mining enterprise for which the company was promoted. Ho thought the best solution of the difficulty would be to primarily confine the articles of association to mining, with power to branch out into other enterprises should occasion arise. However, he would confer with his colleagues on the matter. On the motion of Mr Seton-Karr, M.P., seconded by Mr F. E. Harman, a cordial vote of thanks was accorded to Mr Seddon. Mr Reeves rose to propose the usual vote of thanks to the chairman, and in doing so, after he had told an amusing story of how Mr Soddon had forcibly ejected a “jumper” of a claim of his in the early clays on the West Coast without recourse to law, said that although tho Premier was leaving there was still an AgentGeneral a office in London, and every aid would be given the searcher after information. For some reason which it is rather ’hard to fathom, the meeting terminated with a verse of ‘ God save the Queen,’ at the suggestion of the chairman.

I am inclined to think, from what I could see

of the meeting, that Mr Scddon’a speech made a very favorable Impression on the gathering of City mon present.

CONSOLIDATED GOLDFIELDS COMPANY. The annual meeting of sharcholdeis in the above was held on Friday, the 23rd ult., Sir Wcstby Perceval presiding. The first year’s report, said the chairman, was verj- satisfaot°rJ; w as in the West Coast district of the South Island that their operations were being carried on, and from the mines that they had acquired there had been won by the previous owners gold valued at little less than one million and a-halt sterling. These properties exemplified the remarks made a few days back by the Premier of New Zealand that the output of gold had not increased during the past twelve months for the reason that crushing had been suspended in many mines pending the erection of modern machinery and the opening up of the low levels. “We arc now opening up these low levels,” said Sir W. Perceval, “and, as the mines are proved at depth, erecting modern machinery with a view to work them on a large scale and in a more economical way. The total list of properties we have acquired, with their respective areas, is as follows : —Ballance 100 acres, Beaconsfield 100 acres, Blake 100 acres, Carroll 100 acres, Energetic and Undaunted 53 acres, Fiery Cross 70 acres, Globe 87 acres, Golden Fleece 65 acres, Gladstone 103 acres, Golden Crown 100 acres, Juno 49 acres, Lillie 50 acres, Larnach 100 acres, Marnia and Jacksons 8 square miles, Low Level 1 uunel 102 acres, Progress 89 acres, Royal Perceval 30 acres, Progressive 31 acres. Royal 20 acres, Royal Mint 29 acres, Seddon 100 acres, Special Claim (Himphrt-y’s)4oo acres, Special Area Low Level 'funnel 60 acres, Salisbury 100 acres, Wealth of Nations 65 acres, Welcome 63 acres, Wedge 30 acres, four leases of 100 acres each adjoining Humphrey’s Gully 400 acres, Humphrey’s Hydraulic Company (in all) 600 acres; total, 3, 96 acres, 8 square miles. The terms on which these pmchases were made by Mr David Zimau were quite satisfactory. Bis success was duo to being able to pay ready cash at a time of commercial and financial depression.” The chairman then dealt at length with the operations in the Progress group containing 742 acres, aud on which a forty-stamp battery was in course of erection, and expected to be ready for crushing by the end of the year. Humphrey’s Gully, for the working of which (it having been thoroughly prospected) an extensive race was under survey ; and the Welcome group, where a rec-f assaying l-|oz to the ton, and of which tin-re was a mile and a-half running through the company’s ground. After au acknowledgment of the thanks due to MrZiman Sir Westby Perceval formally moved the adoption of the reports. Mr L. F. Geo seconded the motion, aud it was carried unanimously. The auditors were reappointed, and the meeting terminated with a cordial vote of thanks to the chairman. THE MARKET. It is a disappointing task writing about the mining share market, for Stock Exchange quotations for New Zealand mines, with one or two exceptions, are merely nominal. Of course London at the present time is pretty well deserted by the speculator in favor of the country, but this is not much of an excuse to bring forward when it has to bo allowed that the same inactivity prevailed before they left. Returns are being waited for from the mines now getting thoroughly under way, and just at the present moment it is the first emshing of the new Talisman battery that is expo-ted. It isat the date of writing considered to be about three weeks overdue, and people say, ns they will do in such cases, weF, perhaps the result hj really not considered good enough to cable. I am informed that there was a somewhat better tone in the New Zealand market just before the commencement of this Klondyke, IClomhk (or whatever else anyone likes to call it) boom. This was noticeable more in the (romoting market than on the Exchange, but it was sufficiently marked to give substantial grounds for anticipating a September boom. There is at present a marked revival of Kaffirs, and it is thought that there will likely follow a reactionary movement in favor of New Zealands. AVaihis are the one pleasing feature of the New Zealand market. Some little time ago they were considerably below 7, but they have during the last few weeks steadily risen—

the cause, I understand, is improved prospects in the mine—and on Thursday they touched 7 9-16. TUB NEW EXPLORATION COMPANY. The company being formed by Messrs F. H. "Whalley and R. Esoott to further develop a number of the properties they brought Horae for flotation baa come to a more definite form than the last time I wrote about it. It will probably’ be registered next week with a capital of

£20,000 in £1 shares under the title of the Hauralti Peninsula Exploration Company. Five properties are iuclu led, one each at AViangamata, AVaihi, Puru, Ohui, and Tairua, and work will be commenced at once. As far as Messrs AVlialley and Escott’a experience goes, they _ find it impossible to get options of any description taken up unless they are left open. New Zealanders, they say, will have in future to reconcile themselves to the fact that no option will be taken except on such terms as will admit of the person taking it having a right to hold it for considerably longer than the time that has so far ruled —namely, six months, ’i his, of course, means that as long as they hold the option they man and work the ground.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18970915.2.47

Bibliographic details

NEW ZEALAND MINING., Issue 10420, 15 September 1897

Word Count
2,722

NEW ZEALAND MINING. Issue 10420, 15 September 1897

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