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MINING BOOMS IN CALIFORNIA.
Another Gofd Excitement Tfiat Promises to tmuaf the Days of '19. THE STATE'S IMMENSE YIELD IN MINERALS. feW^-u^ ♦'♦ ♦ •>>♦'♦♦; 1 1 + HE United States Mint at San Francisco has, since its institution in*f + j 1554, six years after the discovery of gold, received and coined T + I more than one-half of the total amount of gold coined by this Gov- + T eminent in all its history. + + To June 30, ISS6. the total gold coinage of the United States since coinage __ j •4- began in 1793, was $1,814,692,253. T __£ The gold coinage of the San Francisco Mint on June 30, 1896, wasT -«► $910,451,907. ' — ♦ , +^-fHHHH*f^m*mH*mH-m>>H*m*f*>*fHH4-f-*r ■ HE "mother * lode" of the -__■__—__-■- State, comprising by far the f^ greatest system of gold-bear § 4**-%^ m » veins in the world, fi j stretches for 125 miles or so \^_ lCf fT along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains from Plumas to Mariposa County in two parallel belts. For this distance it is an almost con tinuous stretch of series and bunches of veins and ore masses varying from a few inches to 600 feet in width. These veins, resulting from eruptive fissures in the earth's crust, extend to unknown depths. The very few deep shafts yet sunk, the deepest being; 2300 feet in vertical depth, in the Kennedy mine, or nearly half a mile, show no narrowing in the veins or change in the average value of the ore. These "deep" shafts and tunnels along these 125 miles of belt are com paratively few. The immense region of Northern California, comprising many thousands of square miles, is also seamed with gold-bearing quartz. Prospecting is hardly begun there. South of the mother lode, through Madera, Fresno and Kern counties, the Sierra Nevadas likewise display a wealth of quartz veins which remain practically un touched and unexplored. During the past year the Randsburg, Panimint and other districts in the south have indicated the great mining possibilities of the desert regions. They are found to be veined with gold bearing ore. San Diego County car ries the surface indications of wealth to the Mexican line. , ; A cube 300 feet square, representing approximately the highest develop ment of quartz mining in California, may, perhaps fairly be taken to repre sent one-tenth of the quartz that has been "mined in this State to date. If so the total yet to be mined in the mines would be ten such cubes. No practical miner may even hazard a guess- at the volume of the pay ore In the multitudinous veins that seam the foundations of the State along this broad gold belt of over a thousand miles. If one conceives those ten cubes as compared with the infinitely greater volume of gold ore yet in the earth he may form a vague conception of the force of the statements that the "sur face of the State has hardly been scratched" and that "quartz mining in California is in its very infancy." Drift mining in California has an un limited future before it. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be taken from the ancient "placers"— auriferous gravels of the watercourses of a for mer age, now buried under lava and other deposits. It is pretty generally understood that the western slopes of a large stretch cf the Sierra Nevada were once drained by a system of water courses different from that of the present day. Their beds and bars were enriched with gold by the process common to the functions of all placers. At a later period vast overflows of lava and other like courses changed the topography, buried these ancient chan nels and another system of waterways was developed. With the new system began the" formation of the . "recent" surface placers which to date have yielded the great bulk of California's gold product. The buried beds of these ancient streams are now found in the middle of hills and in all manner of odd situa tions. In some cases they may be worked by simply washing down deep alluvial deposits overlying them by the hydraulic process. Generally, however, they are worked by tunnel ing into the bottom of the old channel and drifting along its course and min ing out the rich gravel near the bed rock. The extent of these ancient water ways can only be guessed at. To date their exploration has been exceedingly small, but nearly all of them dis covered have proved to be enormously rich. Engineer John Hays Hammond, in his contribution to "The Auriferous Gravels of California," an annual re port of the State Mineralogist for 1889, says: The aggregate length of the ancient water channels of the State has been esti- I mated at 400 miles. This does not In clude the so-called cement channels, ; which are but of subordinate economic i importance. The yield per mile of chan | nels of the average character Is, at a : low estimate, from $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. Good channels for drifting yield from 5100 to $500 per lineal foot of the stratum extracted. This estimate refers to main chan nels, and does not take into account the beds of the little tributaries. If there are but 400 miles of channels of the "average" character, Mr. Ham mond's estimate would make the amount of accessible gold in them from $800,000,000 to $1,200,000,000. A number of drift mines have won distinction as producers, yet to date only a slight fraction of rich ancient channels have been tapped. A few records of drift mines will indicate the possibilities of the future. The Bald Mountain mine in Sierra County yield ed $2,531,740 and paid $984,000 in divi dends. The Hidden Treasure in Placer County yielded $900,000 in eleven years, paying $268,000 in dividends. Up to 1880 3850 feet of the channel on which the Bald Mountain was located yield ed an average of $465 per lineal foot and a profit of $225 per lineal foot. The Manzanita, near Nevada City, had yielded $7,000,000 in ISS9. The Spring Valley mine in the famous old Chero kee district in Butte County yielded $10,000,000 from 4800 lineal feet of the ancient channel worked by the hy draulic process in -.-.69. And there are others just as rich. Accompanying the recent revival In quartz mining has been an increased return to drift raining. There is more activity in this field than ever before. The chances are there will be more drift mining undertaken in Butte, Plu mas, Sierra, Placer and a few other counties fifty years from now than there will be in ten years hence. This is a field for large capital and an in viting one. Prospecting a drift claim with shafts and tunnels is often a long and costly process, but there are bigger nuggets in those buried gravels than any the Klondike has yet yielded. Many people generally recognize the importance of the mining industry as a factor in the prosperity of this State, but few really comprehend it. Here is one measurement: The mines produce and distribute annually among the people of the State in wages and through trade over $20,000,000. Experts say this is a very conserva tive estimate. The total mineral prod uct of California in 1896, as figured with great care by the statistician of the State Mining Bureau, Charles G. Yale, was valued at $24,291,398. Of this the gold product was represented by $17,181,562, petroleum and quicksilver being next in importance with valua tions of $1,180,793 and $1,075,449 respec tively. Of this total amount of wealth pro duced every cent, except the net profits going to the mine-owners, represents the cost of production. Only in indi vidual cases can exact profits in min ing be given. Round estimates only can be given when the general profits of the mining industry of the State are figured on. Figured thus the judg ments of the most intelligent mining men on the general average of net profit in "going" gold mines range be tween 15 and 33% per cent- If any mine in the State of any kind and class paid this most liberal per centage of profit the cost of production would be over $16,000,000. Of the $7,000,000 representing the quicksilver, petroleum, coal, copper, salt, building stone, etc., of the State, the general margin of profit will be conceded to be very much smaller than 33% per cent. But the amount of money distributed by the industry is not completely measured by this percentage of cost. The amount of money invested in new mining experiments runs up to enor mous sums. Also the present mining activity is attended by a great number of investments in unproductive proper ties and a vast amount of expensive development work. Some of these developments are very costly. Within two years the Shasta Mountain Copper Company has in vested about $2,000,000 in its mine and smelter. One big French hydraulic mining company is Spending about $4,000,000 on a plant and property in Trinity County. The rehabili tation of the old Oneida mine in THE BA-ET FRANCISCO CALL, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 19, 1897. ! Amador County is costing the Explor i ation Company of London about $300, --000, and nearly as much has been put , Into the old Gwin mine within two or I three years. Other initial investments j on a similar scale are going on. All these improvements go to swell | the immense sums of money distri ! buted all over the State by miners. Some of the most notably succcessful mines are turning more than their pro fits back into their properties. Many new and costly shafts are being sunk from 1000 to 2000 feet, and a number of large and profitable mines are doub ling their milling capacity, putting in large electric and air - compressing plants, etc. Into hundreds of smaller properties men and companies are putting their money, expecting soon to reach the point of profitable production. A brief general review of the mining field shows that the estimate of $20,000,000 as the annual distribution by this in dustry in this State is a low one. It is likely that the totai of cost and in vestment will exceed the total value of the mineral output in 1897. In the case of ' California mine owners — and Californians own most of the mines the profits also are mainly invested here, thus adding to the State's total of wealth and improve ments. A very large percentage of the cost of production goes to labor. The State Mineralogist's report for 1895-9u gives the number of white miners at 19,508. A very large number would naturally escape this census. The number di rectly employed for wages has greatly increased in the last two years. The many million dollars paid out for mining labor annually gets at once into the channels of trade, filtering through every little tradesman in the mining regions into the greater field of commerce and manufacture of every description throughout the State. It is the revival of mining which is building branch railroads, electric roads, great electric power plants and giving population and wealth to a large portion of the State. Even the thousands of prospectors who were out from a week to a year in 1897 find ing those 10,000 prospects represent a large amount of small. business. The Oroville Register, in its recent mining edition, gives some very care fully compiled estimates in this line which are interesting. Butte stands tenth on the list of gold-producing counties, its record for 1896, which will be largely increased in 1897, being $749,316. With the help of the great register and a careful canvass of- the county, it estimates the number of men directly employed in mines and mills at 1000. Small farmers who mine half of the year were omitted. *, The cost of labor for the year was placed at $912,500. All other mining expendi tures were taken to be one-third the amount of labor, giving $1,216,660 'as the expense of the mines* of Butte County in 1597. This is a part of what mining is doing for the mining county that is tenth in importance. < - r .'Y'':-. It is the increased outflow, of money in this way. that" is putting a -new heart into a great many mining com munities, filling the mountain roads anew with teams, reopening every abandoned old roadhouse and giving a general realization that a new mining era is here. San Francisco is and will remain the great depot of mining machinery and supplies for the whole Pacific region. No attempt has ever been made to seg regate the statistics of mining manu facturing from the total of the manu facturing interests :of the city. The estimates of the total output of mining machinery in San Francisco in 1897, given by several of the leading firms, range from $1,250,000 to $7,000, 000. Here are a few figures to show what a tremendous stride California - has taken in the mining industry during the past year: The records .of the Secretary of State show that about 1400 mining incorporations have been regis tered during the twelve months, end ing November 15 last Five years ago a new mining com pany would be heard of only now and then. Many of those companies listed have been formed to operate in Alaska and some to operate in other parts of the Pacific Coast, but the vast major ity are associations of California peo ple who have secured claims within the borders of . the State line. . *^ach company has at least five directors and shareholders, and . the 1400 com panies thus represent about 7000 peo ple. The number of mineral claims lo cated in California during 1897 -will be fully 10,000. A small proportion of these are other than old claims. This estimate is based on figures taken from — ■__, the county records of fourteen of the thirty-three gold-producing counties of the State. Since May 25 last ail min eral locations have, under- the new law, been recorded with the County Recorders. These thirteen counties produced about $10,500,000 of the $17,181,500 offi cially given as the total production of 1896. The figures reported are as fol lows: Butte, 112; Calaveras, 567; El Dorado, 227; Fresno, 533; Madera, 451; Mariposa 419; Nevada, 340; Placer, 283; Plumas, 305; Riverside, 1216; San Ber nardino, 301; San Diego, 937; Shasta, 985; Tuolumne, 1245. \ This gives a total of 4921. There are other counties in the State, notably Siskiyou, Trinity and Kern, in which the prospecting has been especially lively and in which an enormous num ber of claims have been located. It is impossible from the state of the records to learn much of the number of locations five years ago, before the recent mining awakening began. in all cases, however, where the figures could be obtained great increase is shown. For instance, in 1892 there were 239 locations in Calaveras, and the in complete record for 1897 is 567. In Mariposa it was 105, as compared with 419. In El Dorado 67 in 1892 grew to 227 for ten and a half months in 1897. Nevada shows 295 in 1892 and 340 in 1897. Thousands of prospectors are out hunting gold claims because thou sands more are looking for claims and MINERALS THAT CATIFORNIA IS RICH IN. WHILE gold is the mineral product of overshadowing importance in California, the State has a phenomenal variety of mineral resources as yet scarcely developed. The present year has given a large in crease in the output of some of them. Lack of a present mar-set, and espe cially lack of transportation facilities, keep dormant many rich resources which will eventually add millions to the mineral output. California is the first State in the Union in the production of asphalt and bitumen, and will in time be at least second in the production of pe troleum. California produces all the quicksilver mined in the United States, and furnishes about one-third of the world's supply. Its copper development has only just begun. It has fine and untouched deposits of asbestos. It has produced diamonds of considerable commercial value, and many experts believe that diamond mining will become profitable. As a building stone for interior finishing its travertine is unsurpassed by the Egyptian product, and is unequaled in the United States. Its beautiful onyx is already familiar. Transportation facilities, population and the activities of a new era of progress will soon dwarf the present extraordinary exhibit of its miscel laneous mineral products. mines to buy. The great increase is in the less developed counties carrying the Mother Lode, especially in the al most virgin fields of the northern and the southern desert counties. The thousand locations in Shasta County will be nearly equaled by Trinity's record and possibly ex ceeded by Siskiyou. These three coun ties include a region filled with quartz veins, in which thorough prospecting and quartz development have hardly fairly begun. The figures from River side and San Diego illustrate the .re markable new activity in the desert regions. More prospectors are this win ter swarming over the deserts than ever before, and San Diego's record of about 1000 locations and Riverside's of over 1200 will undoubtedly be exceeded in 1898. . •".■ '•;■ . ' The most significant showing is that from Tuolumne County, from which 1245 locations in 1897 are reported. The .figures from : Tuolumne and Calaveras show the flocking to the Mother Lode, and the encouragement which even prospectors j find there after two gene rations of gold mining more than any thing else shows the tremendous pos sibilities of mining interests in this State. V -JYY- In the southern part of the State be tween the end of what is termed the Mother Lode in Mariposa County and the Mohave Desert farther south, stretches a long section of the Sierra Nevada range. Many prospectors have turned thitherward this year. This comprises the mountain regions of Ma dera, Fresno and Kern counties. The section Is, rich with promise, but its gold-producing career is practically all before it. / |||| * The ,451 locations filed in : Madera County in 1897 were more than three times the number n.ed in 1896 and more than the total from the organization of the County in 1893 to January, 1897. Madera's gold production in 1-.96 was only $104,340. Fresno County produced only $28,235 in gold in 1596. This year has brought her a gold and an oil boom. Of the 523 locations 200 were for oil prospects, but the 333 extra gold locations show that at last the gold resources of Fresno County are on the eve of a great develop- ment. So little work has been done in this county that there are -but one or two small stamp mills and a few arras- tras in operation. ,. Practically no mining has been done be- low. the -'surface... The late success of prospectors promises good returns and great life in that section during the coming year. Kern County has also become a great attraction to prospectors during the past year. It has the wooded and watered slopes -of a considerable stretch of the Sierra Nevadas, rich in gold indications but 'young in gold de velopment. This county also com prises a large part of the rich desert section, including the active Rands burg, Goler and other districts. Nearly 800 stamps have been added to the State's mills,, during the past year. Competent authorities declare to-day there are about 7500 stamps dropping day and night on the ' gold ores of the State. In 1889 the annual report of State Mineralogist Irelan estimated the number of gold mills in the State at 200 and the. number of stamps 3000. About one-fourth of these were stand ing idle. The Increase in the milling capacity was very slight during the next three years. In 1895 and 1896 the State Mining Bureau compiled a cen sus of the mills and stamps. The figures appeared in the biennial report for those years, ending September, 1896. The number of mills reported was 548, and the number of stamps 6622. There were also 77 patent mills and 107 arrastras, bringing * the total stamp capacity up to about 6800 stamps. Patent mills and arrastras will prob ably bring the present ore-milling capacity of the State up to nearly 8000 stamps. The year 189S will see a much larger increase in the milling capacity of the State. Tha number of mills has al ready more than doubled as a result of the recent big revival in mining. The average amount of ore crushed in this State per stamp per twenty four hours * of operation is about two tons. If 7500 stamps were running night and day they would crush 15,500 tons a day, or 5,657,500 tons a year. Quartz rock "In place," or in a solid body, is calculated at thirteen cubic feet per ton. At the rate taken to be that of the possible stamp capacity of the- State at the close of 1897 the total amount of ore which could be crushed in a year would be represented by a cube of rock about 420 feet each way. This is manifestly , far in excess of the present actual consumption of ore. Many stamps are idle part of the time or do not drop night and day. Perhaps 2,500,000 tons a year at the present rate of production would not be far out of the way as an estimate. This amount would be represented by a cube of rock about 300 feet square. It would, cover one of many blocks in this- city and would tower to -about the height of The Call building. . 1 - "-' SOME FAMOUS ,g GOLD RUSHES, One of the most Ingrained characteristics of man is his sire for wealth; at all times and in all ages has he striven to obtain that which, accord ing to the period or country, i was , reckoned as the most desirable possession. In the I early dawn of civilization and in the still barbarous I countries of the present j day flocks ; and herds were counted as a sign of wealth, and each man fought, worked or schemed to obtain the. Later on metals, and especially gold, took the place of cattle, and from the time of the search for the Golden Fleece to these days of Klon dike there have always been men will ing to face any risk in order to gratify their all-powerful desire to be rich. In September, 1847, gold was first dis covered in California, leading to the great rush which took place a few months later, when thousands flocked there from all parts of the world. ■ The discovery of gold in Australia was brought about in quite a romantic manner. A Mr. Hargreaves, who went as a miner to California, was much struck by the resemblance the gold bearing rocks of the latter country bore to the ' rocks near his " home in Australia. On his return he system atically searched for signs of gold, and on February 12, 1851, he found some of the precious metal for the first time. Fifty miles north of Bathurst three quartz blocks containing 112 pounds of pure gold were discovered, and the fa mous "Victoria Nugget," a single mass of pure virgin gold weighing 340 ounces, was brought from Bendigo. But the largest nugget . of all was that chris tened the "Welcome"; this was found at Ballarat on June 4, 1858, weighed 2019% ' ounces and was valued at £8376 10s. Between May 1, 1851, and May 1, 1861, gold to the enormous value of £96,000,000 .had been brought to Eng land from the two colonies of Victoria and New South Wales. It was during the height of the gold rush that the storming of the Eureka Australia's only battle, if it be dignified by any other name than a — occurred. In those days each miner had to pay a tax of 30 shillings, and he had to show his license when ever an official demanded to see it. The miners resented this, and the officials on the spot by their untactful method of examining the licenses fanned the flames of dissatisfaction. Further discontent was occasioned when the tax was raised to £3 per head, but this was soon reduced to the original amount- In reply to a petition that the tax might be repealed the Governor issued orders that the search for unlicensed diggers should be prose cuted with still greater vigor. This action and the events of the autunul of 1854 brought matters to a climax. A row took place at a hotel near Bal larat, when the windows of the place were broken, and it was then set on fire. The police were called out, the riot act read, and three of the ring leaders were arrested and imprisoned. Here the dissatisfied _j miners ' had broken out into open revolt; a revolu tionary flag, with the Southern Cross worked in silver on a blue ground, was unfurled, the Eureka stockade was erected on Bakery Hill, on the Mel bourne road, men were drilled and various sorts of arms were imported into the fort. Early on the morning of December 3, 1854, the military stormed the stockade and took it with a rush, and the revolutionary flag was hauled down. Five soldiers were killed, but the number of deaths on the miners side is not known, though it is said it was about thirty. In 1856 and 1858 gold was discovered In the- United States of Colombia. South America, causing many people to emigrate to that country. While the other colonies of Australia .were increasing their populations by hundreds of thousands Western Aus tralia stood still, as people had an idea that it was mostly desert. However, gold was at last found there in 1891, causing the inevitable rush, and ia spite of the lack of water and the -dif- Acuities of transport, the prosperous settlements of Coolgardie and Kal» goo r lie were made. 13