The mining industry - a brighter outlook

Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), Saturday 28 March 1908, page 13



[X.—By Our Special Reporter.]

Kangaroo Island lies in a direct line be between Kalgoorlie and Ballarat. "What if it does?' enquires the reader; "so do other parts of' the Australian Commonwealth." Exactly; but consider! During many years gold has been mined with wonderful success in the western and eastern districts named, and latterly rich stone has been discovered on the island. Now the reader will begin to appreciate the suggestion conveyed in the first sentence. Maybe there is nothing in it. On the other hand, there is a distinct possibility that the reefs of quartz which have yielded such enormous wealth in Kalgoorlie and Ballarat are identical with that from which the yellow metal is being won on South Australia's principal islands. Although finds of minerals and precious stones have been made here at intervals since practically the beginning of European settlement, not until about a decade ago was the real testing of the country begun by Mr. H. G. Taylor. He has examined almost every yard of the land. Sometimes he was away by himself for months together, and came into the towns only for fresh supplies of food for himself and his horses. As he moved along he made as says from all promising discoveries, and the results and localities he carefully entered in notebooks. Consequently, to-day he has a more comprehensive and accurate knowledge of the mineralogical characteristics and prospects of the place than probably any other man. Therefore it was to him that I went for information on the subject.

— The Koh-i-noor Mine. —

Foremost among the mining enterprises is the Koh-i-noor gold mine, in the Hundred of MacGillivray, 16 miles south-west from Kingscote. The first gold unearthed in the neighbourhood was secured by the father of Mr. A. C Burgess, of White Lagoon, who named and opened the property. That was nearly 30 years ago. A vertical shaft was sunk 45 ft. on a rich leader which at that depth disappeared. Much time and £2,000 were spent in at tempting to trace it, but without success, and operations were accordingly suspended. Subsequently, deeply impressed with the reports of the work which had been done, and the promising nature of the country, Mr. Taylor decided to endeavour to hit upon the lost leader. At the end of about six weeks, satisfied that he had succeeded in his quest, he pegged out the land, and put in a drive for 90 ft. While engaged in that task he came across a couple of leaders, which averaged between two and five inches in width, and carried gold from 36 dwt to 2 oz. 17. dwt. Afterwards Mr. Taylor discovered the continuation of the main leader, a bulk sample from which nearly three years ago assayed 2 oz. 5 dwt. Since that date shafts aggregating over 600 ft. in depth have been sunk, and the deepest approximates to 200 ft., and the next to 125 ft. About 1,500 ft. of levels have been put in and development work for being proceeded with a rapidly as possible. The leaders in the 125 ft. shaft enter a mullocky lode formation, 4 ft. wide, composed of soft slate and quartz veins, and carrying gold of high value. Two months ago another parallel reef of size similar to those previourly indicated was struck about 140 ft. from the original leader. A shaft was sunk on it for 20 ft., and the underlay was followed down another 26 ft. Free gold showed all the way, and assays returned, between 5 oz. and 20 oz. to the ton. Mr. Taylor, who is the manager of the mine, is sanguine that it will prove a complete success, and his confidence seems to be shared by a large percentage of the residents, who have un bounded faith in the mineral outlook, and in their minds even perceive the day when the island will be one of the most important precious metal-producing coun tries in the world.

—A Progressive Company.—

In these circumstances it is not surprising that when the syndicate which gave serious attention to the testing of the property after it had been adandoned in the first instance was formed into a limited liability company recently, they promptly subscribed for most of the shares. The remainder were taken up in Melbourne and in Adelaide. The company has a working capital of £2,000, and is made up of 16,000 shares ai 5/ each. The directors are Messrs. D. Melvin, of Melboume; J. Dewar, F. Ayliffe, H. Ayris, and J. N. Davis; and the Secretary is Mr. A. Campbell. A few weeks since the directors inspected and decided upon sites for the construction of a dam and the erection of a battery, The whole of the essential mechanical plant for these works reached Kingscote on March 7. It includes a 10 h.p. portable Hornsby steam-engine, five head of stamps (each of 1,000 lb., and a sawbench. Mr. Allan Forsyth has charge of the machinery, which be put together and be under his supervision. The cost of the material, exclusive of the sawbench, was £330, and it is estimated that fully £1,000 will have to be extended to place the mine and mill in proper running order. The dam is about 1,000 yards west of the mine on a tributary of the Cygnet, and is expected to provide an unlimited supply of water. The battery is being erected within a chain of the dam and 150 ft. lower than the mine. For a while after active work in all departments shall have been commenced there will be two shifts at the mine and one at the mill; and no doubt, as the quantity of ground broken up shall be increased, so will the operations of the mill be extended. The directors hope to begin crushing within a month.

— Western River.—

A journey of 50 miles along the north coast from Kingscote brings one to the Western River Silver-lead Mining Company's Mine, which first attracted attention about 20 years ago. Toward the end of the nineties a large parcel of carbonate ore, lead, and sulphides obtained from the surface yielded, it is said, 55½ per cent, of lead and approximately 5 oz. of' silver, Later Mr. Taylor undertook the control of he property, and saw sufficient to convince him that the reports con cerning the value of the ores had not been exaggerated. When he had been in possession for some time he disposed of the mine, which he considers has a splendid future as a lead producer. The reef, he says, ranges from 25 ft. to 200 ft. in width. Something over 12 months ago, Messrs. Tassey O'Connor, Winch, and Nelson secured an option over the property, and a small syndicate was formed in Melbourne. Soon £1,250 was raised as the first step toward a comprehensive scheme of development. When this money had been spent the syndicate was floated into a company of 100,000 shares at 10/ each. It is asserted that practically an inexhaustible quantity of ore from 20 to 30 .per cent. in value can be quarried out on the open-cut system, and that when the principal shaft, which is 100 ft. in depth, shall have been deepened the mine will be ready for installation of machinery and plant for the treatment of ore on the spot. Mr. O'Connor, who is in charge of the mine, believes that the venture will prove an unqualified success.

Twenty-four miles from Kingscote and north-east of the Cygnet Mine, is an auriferous lode, held by Messrs. Waller, Murray. and Bainbridge, over which Mr. O'Connor has an option. He acknow ledges that it is the largest of its kind that has been brought under his notice, either in South Africa, Western Australia, or South Australia. Free gold has been o tained over an auriferous area 100 ft. wide, and assays of the stuff have indicated an average of between 2 and 6 dwt. a ton.

—The Cygnet Mine.—

Another venture which Mr. Taylor is interested is the Cygnet Mine. This is 26 miles from Kingscote in a southerly direction, and is distinguished by one of the strongest and longest lines of fissure reefs which he has ever seen. Material taken by the Government Geologist from what was known as the Tilka reef at 45 ft. yielded 5 dwt. Mr. Taylor put the shaft down another 35 ft. Then, observing that the land still carried gold, he crosscut, and forwarded 3 tons 12 cwt. to the Govern ment battery at the School of Mines, Stawell, Victoria, and received word that the parcel had averaged 7 dwt. a ton. At the surface the reef was 9 ft. wide, and at the bottom of the shaft a width of 21 ft. was apparent. Mr. Taylor continued the crosscut to 60 odd ft., and ascertained that the one channel was 38 ft. wide between two well-defined walls. He says that the reef extends for 12 miles, is metalliferous, and carries gold, copper, and lead. Other parts of the reef are being opened, with highly encouraging results. The property is held under option by a Melbourne syndicate, which will in all likelihood place it upon the London market. Mr. Taylor has men sinking a new shaft about 100 yards south-east of the old cut, where there is a large outcrop of an exceedingly prepossessing aspect. The present intention is to carry the shaft to a depth of 200 ft.

—Other Properties.—

Two and a half miles north-west of the Cygnet is the Perserverance Mine, which was introduced to public notice less than four years ago. At that period Mr. Taylor went down on a gessan vein for 18 ft., and struck a 3 ft. 6 in. reef of zinc blends, which have an average of 45 per cent, of pure zinc. The substance practically disappeared at 20 ft, and then Mr. Taylor, reached a lead sulphide, which produced between 20 and 70 per cent of lead and from 3 to 5 oz. of silver to the ton. The load at 60 ft. was 14 ft. wide, and assayed from 12 to 16 dwt. of gold, 5 oz. of silver, and 20 to 60 per cent. of lead. At this juncture, owing to the influx of water—the three shafts, 50, 35 and 30 ft. respectively, made 3,000 gallons an hour—operations had to be suspended.

During a prospecting tour of Daw's Diggings, on the Ellennor River, 35 miles south-west of Kingscote, Mr. Taylor, besides finding payable alluvial gold, came across monazite in an old tertiary drift, associated with a gold, rutile, zincon, Oriental sapphire and ruby, and amethyst. The fact of the discovery was communicated to Mr. Francis H. Snow, who took a sample with him when he went to England some time ago. On his return recently he commissioned Mr. Taylor to get a further quantity of the stuff, as he was not satisfied with the value of the previous parcel. For the benefit of the uninitiated it may be mentioned that a certain percentage of thorium exists in monaxite, and is used extensively in the manufacture of incandescent mantles for gaslamps. The value of the monazite sand varies from 15/ a lb.. upward, according to the percent age of thorium contained in it.

KANGAROO ISLAND. (1908, March 28). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 13.

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