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PROGRESS OF BURRA MINE—SMELTING WORKS.
association, including the cost of producing the 2,959 tons of ore, amounting to £15,926, leaving an undivided balance of £7,584. During the six months ending 30th September, 1847, 7,264 tons were raised within that period of a superior quality. During the six months ending the 31st March, 1848, 6,068 tons were raised. The large raising of the whole year, amounting to 13,533 tons, was produced from within the limits of the twenty-fathom level. All the ore discovered below that to the thirty fathoms was left for future raising, there being plenty of good ore-ground above the twenty-fathom level to employ the miners for some time to come.
The wages and cost of working the mine, including timber, fixed machinery, tools, &c., amounted to £74,030, and the cartage of the ore to £44,803.
In this year £83,106 was realized, out of which the expenses of working the mine and carting the ore were paid, but three further dividends were declared. By March, 1848, the original £5 shares had advanced up to £150; a sixth and seventh dividend of £10 each, in June and September, raised the prices to £200 and £210 for cash. A fall afterwards took place in consequence of the depreciation of the value of copper in Europe. But an important discovery was made of a valuable lode in the thirty-fathom level leading from Kingston to Graham's shaft. The lode was cut four fathoms below the water level, was solid, and from ten to eleven feet wide, composed of a compact green carbonate or malachite, producing upwards of 40 per cent. of copper. The lode was described as clearly defined, in easy working order, and dipping well into the mine.
In the half year ending the 30th September, 1848, 10,163 tons were raised, making a sum total for the ore raised during the first three years' working of the mine of 33,386 tons, equal to upwards of 10,000 tons of fine copper ore (at £70 per ton), £700,000. The cost of the mine for the year ending the 30th of September, 1848, was £81,491; of the cartage of ore, £31,445.
In the latter part of 1848 the miners struck for higher wages. The workings of the mine were suspended from November until February, 1849. In March the miners resumed work.
Further important discoveries were made one of a lode in the thirty-fathom level, south-west from Graham's shaft, consisting of red oxide and malachite in great abundance; and the other of a lode two fathoms wide, yielding malachite of high produce. Only two pitches were set on these lodes, and twelve men at work at them in the first week produced eighty tons of the richest ores.
On the 5th of September, 1849, an eighth dividend of £5 per share was declared. In the year 1850 the £10 quarterly dividends were regularly paid. Two steam-engines of 35-horse power each, one for crushing the ore and the other for drawing from the shafts, arrived ; and the directors ordered seventy fathom of fifteen-inch pumps to replace the eleven-inch lifts then in work, and a pumping-engine of 300-horse power.
The quantity of ore raised in the year ending September, 1850, was 18,692 tons. Since that period the returns have experienced a temporary check from the emigration to the gold-diggings, and shares have fallen to £50.
Smelting Works. The copper ore raised in the South Australian mines has been principally sent to Swansea. As there is a considerable demand for copper in India and China, it became an object to refine the ore in South Australia. With this view several copper-smelting companies were established, but hitherto with moderate success, in consequence of the scarcity of fuel, although an immense capital has been sunk. Coal has not yet been discovered; therefore the smelters were dependent on wood or imported coal. A large forest is soon consumed, according to experience in Norway, by the demands of a smelting establishment. The most extensive smelting works, late the property of Messrs. Schneider, have unfortunately been planted close to the Burra mine, where wood is scarce, and where four tons of coal must be carted up for every ton of ore. The proper site would have been at or near a port.
These, then, have been the especial occupations and investments of South Australian colonists. Pastoral pursuits are followed as in the other two colonies. The number of sheep grazing is about one-sixth that of Port Phillip district. Fat cattle are driven over from Portland Bay to Rivoli Bay for South Australian consumption.
The remarks on pastoral pursuits apply to all the three colonies.
South Australia is at present under a cloud, but the depression can be but temporary. Such a mine as the Burra must be worked, and the colony will profit, even although the dividends of the original shareholders be reduced one half, and wages of miners doubled. A genial sun, a fertile soil, a healthy climate, with English colonists, sheep, cattle, and pastures, cannot but produce good fruits, although the grand dreams of “empire” of newly-fledged legislators may scarcely be realized. Statistics of South Australia in 1850, the Fifteenth Year of its Settlement.
The following abstract of elaborate official statistical tables will show the condition of South Australia previous to the gold crisis :
PRICE OF LAND AFFECTS EMIGRATION.
The exports of the year ending April, 1850, amounted to £453,668 12s. Of this sum £11,212 was in wheat, £20,279 in flour, £63,729 in copper in ingots, £211,361 in copper ore, £8,188 in tallow, and £113,259 in wool.
These are the staple exports of South Australia.
The imports for the same period were £887,423, part of the excess arising from imports of railway, mining, and other productive investments. In the same year 64,728} acres were in cultivation—wheat, 41,807 acres; potatoes, 1,780; gardens, 1,370; vineyards, 282; hay, 13,000.
The population was 63,900, of which 7,000 were Germans.
Live Stock :-Cattle, 100,000; sheep, 1,200,000; horses, 6,000. It may be convenient here to state, by way of comparison, the statistics of the sister colonies :
New South Wales.
Victoria, late Port Phillip.
78,000 £744,225 £1,041,796 6,033,000 346,562 16,743
The effect of the gold discoveries was to drain off fifteen thousand of the South Australian population to the gold-fields, and to bring all except the paying mining speculations to a stand-still. But the legislature having rapidly passed an act by which gold, duly stamped, became a legal tender at the government land sales, and the governor having at the same time made, by a few bridges and wells sunk, a practicable road to Mount Alexander diggings, and established an escort, by the last advices a new profitable commerce was spring
Successful South Australian diggers have thus had inducements held out to them to invest the produce of their labour in farms in their own province. The time has come when the £l an acre tells against South Australia seriously in competition with the other provinces. Where a man can earn £l a day the price of land does not affect him. But there are hundreds of respectable families who do not want to take their children to dig gold, and will not and cannot go
to service, who would be glad to purchase land to till with their own hands, if they had the means. The £l an acre set against the cost of the voyage renders an investment in South Australian land impossible. There are capital colonists who have large families, small means, and yet are not prepared to become “hewers of wood and drawers of water."