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PROSPECTS OF THE ANISEED VALLEY COPPER MINES.

[B* " WWabbigai/."]

. There is every probability that the Aniseed Valley Mines may again be worked. Aooording to the latest reports the price of copper in the English market is firmer, than it has been lor some time, and there is a possibility that thef demand for this useful metal will become greater. The simple introduction of enameled work into cooking utensils has almost abolished the use of copper for kettles, saucepans, boilers,* &0., and many other things that were numerous and weighty, are being made of a cheaper material. But one of the recent improvements in telegraphy proves (hat by the automatic process a far greater dumber of words per minute can be transmitted on oopper wire, than can be carried on the present ones. It is also argued that oopper wires are lighter, more durable, and reliable, and it is considered very probable that in the near future oopper will be extensively used in the manufacture of telegraph wires. I believe oopper also enters into the composition of a recently invented bronze, which is said to be coming into extensive use. If this is the case with both the instances I have mentioned, the disuse of copper in the manufacture of oooking utensils will be more than supplemented by the demand for use in telegraphy and the new bronze. Oiroumstanceß also are now more favour- ■ able for the profitable working of the Aniseel Valley Oopper Mines than in the late Company's time. Their vast expenditure on roads, works, and the opening up of the ■ mines; their experience gained of the nature of the ore, tbe lode, and the ground, the reduction in the prioe of living, wages, and necessary material, will certainly prove a great advantage to any company forming now, who are ready to make use of this darly- bought exporienoa and tbe laSefij improvements in tbe smelting of ores. Tho late Aniseed Valley Copper Mining Company fought loig and valiantly agiiost adverao 6irontnstanoe9; but I am prepared tossy that if tibia Company were now in possession of the. money that was eitnply equindered on Unproductive works, they oould, tinder good management, more than recoup themselves for all the capital expended in developing their mine*. Nay, I can go further, and say that there is every probability that tho Company would havo been able to pay dividends sufficient to return good interest on the money Bnbsoribed by shareholders, and would in course of time possess a really profitable oonoern. All the reports. I have read on the Champion and United mines speak well of the indications. Mr S. H. Cox, F.G.S., one time assistant geologist to the New Zealand Government, in his report on the United mine, said : " Considering the small amount of work expended, the prospects of the mine, both as regards what can be seen on the surface, and the natural facilities which exist for the exploitation of the ore are exceptionally goods" Then goes on to point out the features of the ground to support his assertion., The Manager, whose mistakes as a practical engineer I recently lamented, but who certainly had the opportunity of knowing more about the two claims than anyone else, says " The main source of smelting ore is to be found in the ore bodies of the United mine. The United lode is ready for stoping down to level 4, which means that a piece of lode 500 feet long and 200 feet high, is available for extraction, which would give 50,000 square feet ..of lode." This was hot simply an assertion made in a spirit of prophecy ; but had for its basis explorations by drives. Then on the indications shown by the new working shafts he maintains that when levels 5 and 6 are advanced under the last known ore body to the south, they will have opened an additional area of the lode 600 feet in length by 110» feet in depth, or an area of 66,000 square feet. ' ' This assertion he supplements by saying : " This area is not all opened up as yet ; therefore, neither the thickness nor the quality of the ore lode can be estimated. He also maintains the general opinion on the Champion Mines, for he says "The Champion Mine ought to be worked in a small way in its old workings ; and in a vigorous way (by contract) in sinking the shaft and exploring the deeper portions of the black serpentine lode. There exists Here a very good chance of striking one of those large pockets of rich ore or native copper which have been the means of aston • isning dividends to other copper companies." There seems to be no doubt that both the Champion and the United have already proved an extensive area of valuable copper ore, which has been successfully smelted at the works and sold in the worlds market ; but, as I have pointed out, the reckless squandering of capital on unproductive works, the extravagance in working the mines and smelting works, the first great

outlay for developing the mines, the fall in the price of copper, and the absence of any leading spirit with sufficient energy and skill, and experience to conduct affairs in a sensible and practical manner has caused the failure of the Aniseed Valley Copper Mines and great loss to a large seotion of the Nelson and Christchurch people. In looking over the report on the cost of conveying the copper to the London market, I find It made up as follows : — Cartage to Richmond, £1; railage to Port Nelson, 3s 6d per ton; freight to Wellington, 7s 6d; freight to London, 3s 6d ; making a total of £1 14 6d (which is a very low estimate from the smelting works in Aniseed Valley to London.) Now these were the terms oalculated in May, 1886. The pound per ton on goods carted from the mines to Bicbmond,

and the three and sixpence from there to

Nelson, will enable us to form some idea as ' to the differenoe between having the smelting works erected near the Port of Nelson, and placing them in Aniseed Valley. Surely the cost of transporting all kinds of material, machinery, brioks, coke, food, and the hundred necessary things, must have increased the cost of erection and of working expenses. I am opt prepared to enter into the minute calculations ; but lam under the impression that the pmelting works would have been put np cheaper and worked more economically near the port of Nelson than in Aniseed Valley. One must remember that besides . the coke used for actual smelting, there was ft considerable quantity used by the steam engine (which was as if in mockery is placed within sight of the noble water supply) ; and besides ooke there was, for some time, ° a considerable quantity of iron used as a flux, and scores of other things which had to be carted perpetually to the Mines. Gertainly limes^ne, one of the principal ingredients of the flux could be easily obtained at Aniseed Valley ; but I question if even the differenoe on the coast of limestone ; and the difference between carting the raw ore and the smelted copper down to Nelson, equalled the mere cost of carting fuel and other things from Nelson to Aniseed Valley. This, however, is a subject which it is rather late to discuss for the works are at the Aniseed Valley. Complete smelting works that are even now in unusual good order, for they have been well cared for and covered with hematite paint, which seems to cover either ironworker woodwork with a thin surface that is practically indestruclable. There is -every probability that these works will soon be in full swing again and I see no reason why thejr should not prove profitable. Compared with some mines situated hundreds of miles from a seaport or with other, mines taxed with royalties and suoh like things the Aniseed Valley Mines even with their faw miles of cartage are in an excellent situation, and it is to be hoped that someone will soon commence working them. Someone with sufficient capital and skill, someone who won't erect steam engines scores of miles from a coal field when there is a river giving a splendid fall and volume of water close at hand. Then the Aniseed Valley Mines would S-ove that mining ventures in the Nelson strict can be profitable.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NEM18880118.2.13

Bibliographic details

PROSPECTS OF THE ANISEED VALLEY COPPER MINES., Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XXII, Issue 14, 18 January 1888

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1,403

PROSPECTS OF THE ANISEED VALLEY COPPER MINES. Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XXII, Issue 14, 18 January 1888

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