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main trunk lode, and it is expected, from the present indications, that in sinking 60 to 80 feet further, a great improvement in the richness of the mine will manifest itself.
The expenses of the management are small, the only salary paid is to the agent at the mine. A good farın has been cleared, and the crops are doing well. The buildings erected are substantial, and the roads are being gradually improved. A new road will be cut to the mouth of Black River, where the supplies will, hereafter, be landed. This will save thirteen miles in distance to the lake, and also some of the expenses, such as storage, commission, &c.' now paid at Ontonagon.
MERRYWEATHER MINE, July 17, 1856. JAMES T. WATERS, Secretary-My Dear Sir :-From the accounts transmitted to you, you will see that the expenditures of the mine, to the 1st inst., amount to $14,981 35. Of this sum there has been expended for mining,
$5,861 18 For surface work (teams, tools, implements, farin labor, teaming, road work, &c.), For provisions (consumed at mine),
2,406 79 For furniture (bedding, stoves, cooking utensils, &c.), For buildings (houses and stable), For blacksmith shop (cost of iron, steel, charcoal, smith's wages),
1,112 82 For transportation (freightage of supplies up the Lakes), For general expenses (wages of mining captain, travelling expenses of agent, stationery for office, &c.),
$14,881 35 The mining work consists of two shafts 180 feet deep each, a level of 200 feet in length between them, and an adit of 254 feet in length.
The farm clearing comprises an area of thirteen acres. The buildings are, a house for the accommodation of twenty-four men, a smaller one for a family dwelling, a stable, a store-house, blacksmith shop and coal house, and a new boarding house, with office attached, recently constructed at an expense of $300, not included in the above sum.
The buildings now erected will accommodate a force of fifty men. They are constructed of logs, well floored and roofed with shingles, and are strong and durable.
The vein we are mining is large and regular. It is composed of spar with occasionally quartz and epidote, and presenting copper in small lumps and bunches, and in fine particles disseminated through the veinstone. The occurrence of copper is found more frequent as we descend, the lode for some distance from the surface being soft, much decomposed, and in places barren. At our present depth a number of small feeders are dipping in the vein from the north side, and enrich it with copper. We also find a large epidote vein well charged with copper, approaching from the south under the foot wall, and we may also expect it will soon join and add to the strength of the lode.
Several agents of the neighboring mines, and other gentlemen of experience in the mines of the country have visited our grounds, and they confirm our own favorable opinion of the vein and the character of the rock through which it passes.
Other veins of very promising appearance are found in the outcropping rock, but the force employed at the mine has always been too small to withdraw a part from the present work to explore them.
It is advisable to continue the shafts to a greater depth, gathering in the quartz feeders from the north, and the epidote vein under the foot wall, when we may reasonably expect the occurrence of copper in quantity and in masses.
It is intended to commence an adit level from the foot of the bluff near the south line of the location, and drive across the ground at right angles with the course of the veins traversing the range. This work will serve to prove the ground more fully than any other mode, by intersecting below the surface
any intermediate vein, and where its character can be better determined than from the surface appearance; and should the vein on which we are now min"ing be permanently worked, as we expect, the adit will be of the greatest
utility in draining the water, and serving for a road to draw out the rock and copper. .
We have now at work four miners in shaft No. 2, and four in shaft No. 3, and eight men to fill and land buckets to the windlass and drive the hoisting team ; one blacksmith, a cook, carpenter, teamster on the road, and mining captain; to wbich force we shall soon add two other miners to work at the adit, making in all twenty-two men and the cook (female).
Having to pack on horseback the principal amount of supplies to provision the mine, the present force is as large as can well be worked during the summer and fall. In the winter the sleighing enables us to draw over our roads the supplies at a comparatively cheap rate : and the mine should be stocked in the winter for a year's consumption, for the number of men intended to be employed.
We are now making a survey of the line of the adit, and a diagram of the work will be sent with my next letter.
Yours very truly,
ALGERNON MERRYWEATHER, Agent.
used instead of cash for Company purposes,
$7,220 00 1,500 00 4,070 00 2,000 00
Leaving available resources over indebtedness, $2,183 94.
Besides this the Company have several thousand dollars' value in buildings, horses, oxen, mining tools, stores, and crops, &c., &c., which it was not thought necessary to inventory the present year.
The financial accounts now subinitted show that the assessment of 15th of June was nearly all anticipated by loans, &c.; and in order that the work can be pushed with proper energy, it will be necessary to call in another assessment of 50 cents per share, payable in September, which will amply suffice for the year. In the present state of the work, true economy makes it the duty of your Directors to speed the work as much as possible, and also
calls upon the Stockholders for a prompt payment of the assessments, so that the operations may not be impeded by want of funds. It is but justice to say that the assessment of 15th June has been promptly responded to.
Much will be done during the winter to develope the mine. Every thing at the present time looks promising, and although your Directors are fully aware uncertainty of the early stages of mining operations, they cannot but feel much encouragement in the prosecution of this work. By order of the Directors,
JAMES T. WATERS, Secretary.
JOURNAL OF SILVER AND LEAD MINING OPERATIONS.
THE SILVER MIXES OF CALIFORNIA.
The fame of the silver mines of California is quite as ancient as the knowledge of its gold placers, and it is the opinion of gentlemen well informed in the matter, that ere many years shall elapse, we shall see the business of silver mining take high rank among the mining interests of the State. So far as discoveries have been already made, the presence of silver seems to be chiefly confined to the Central and Southern portions of the State, and there can be little doubt but that when the mountains of that portion of the State are thoroughly explored, silver ore will be found as abundant, and perhaps as rich as in the most favored regions of Mexico or Peru.
We gave some two or three weeks since, from the “Monterey Sentinel," an article with regard to the silver mines of Monterey county, from which it appears that there are not less than six distinct views of silver on one ranch in that county, and it is also stated by those who are well acquainted with thể silver mining districts of Mexico and Peru, that a remarkably close resemblance exists between those regions and the Sierras of Monterey.
Rich placers of both gold and silver, were known to exist in Monterey county more than fifty years ago, and were worked to some extent, though in a very loose and unskilful manner. The priests of those days invariably discouraged the search and working for minerals, as a matter of policy to themselves; hence the loss of the particular knowledge with regard to their location and extent. Sufficient however is known to warrant the conclusion that the mines were both extensive and valuabls. Silver ore in Monterey county was so plenty and so easily obtained about the close of the last century, that it was frequently used for making bullets—the mineral being a mixture of lead and silver, the silver forining about twelve per cent. of the mass. The most reliable evidence also exists with regard to silver mines on or near King's river, near the head of the Tulare valley. Other veins are known to have been worked to some extent in Santa Barbara county. It is also known that there are valuable veins of silver ore in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties.
One of the veins in Monterey county on the Alizal ranch, the one from which it is supposed the early Californians obtained the material for making their bullets, is said to have been re-discovered and worked for a short time by a Mexican in 1831, who finally abandoned it on account of a dispute about the proprietorship. From that time it remained undisturbed until 1852, when a party of German miners, who had but little experience and less capital, again took it in hand, but for
these two very sufficient reasons soon gave it up again. They wrought it sufficiently, however, to prove that it would be valuable, under proper management, with a sufficient capital. Two more veins have since been discovered in the same immediate neighborhood, which present every indication of being extensive and valuable.
From the facts which appear to be authentic, and the accuracy of which might be thoroughly tested by inquiries and examinations, in the neighborhood alluded to, there would seem to be very little doubt of the truth of the assertion put forth in the commencement of this article, that the business of silver mining must become a very important branch of California industry. In order to bring about this result, it is desirable that the first operations should be undertaken by experienced managers. A mine of either gold or silver, which might be made extraordinarily productive under an experienced and liberal management, may, under the control of inxperienced managers, although with an abundance of capital, fail to yield even a paying return. It is therefore to be hoped that the first experiments in silver mining in California, will not, as has been too frequently the case in gold mining, be intrusted to incompetent hands. It is desirable that the attention of enterprising capitalists and practical miners may be turned toward this promising interest. The occupation of silver mining has ever been in all countries, more productive and certain than that of gold. There is at this time a great demand for silver, both as a circulating medium and for the arts; and it will be most fortunate for California if she should find it in her power to supply this deficiency. With gold and quicksilver in abundance, and inexhaustible supplies of all the grosser minerals, we need now but an equal developinent of the argentiferous ores to make us, as a nation, independent of the world, in every thing which relates to money and commerce.
With this end in view, we shall endeavor to collect and lay before our readers, from time to time, such facts as we may be able to obtain with regard to the discovery and the proper methods of working silver mines. We shall close this article, the length of which, nothing but its importance will justify, with the following paper, by Guido Kustel, translated for the San Francisco Chronicle from the “German Journal” of that city:
"Silver mining will become a much more important interest in the future f California than at present, because it is beyond doubt that the mountains, particularly in the southern part of the State, contain many silver mines.
owever, the discovery and digging of silver ores are more difficult than those of gold. Silver is less widely diffused, and in many of its forms is not easily to be recognized. Gold is easily discovered, on account of its dissemi nation in gold districts, and of its striking appearance, unless in combination with Tellurium or Molybdenum. The pan soon tells the gold miner what he can expect. A gold vein is almost the same to him as a quarry vein. When he seeks the one, he seeks the other. When he finds the quarry he can easily know whether it contains gold. But it is different with silver. It is true that in a small plain in Peru pure silver was found just below the surface of the soil, and was found clinging to the grass roots on the sod, but that was really a silver placer. Pure silver has likewise been found in thin leaves, in connection with some ores of iron; but generally its natural state is in an
He who would seek for silver ore, should examine the geological formations of stone, which will often furnish information of what is to be expected. The extraction of silver from the ore requires an exact knowledge of the nature of the metal and of the substances in connection with which it is found in the ore, before the miner can decide upon the best method of bandling his material.
Nearly erery silver mine yields, besides the ore, a mineral which is too poor to be directly worked up, and yet too rich to be thrown away. A good inethod of working is almost indispensable. In some quartz mines of Mariposa county, a glittering red ore, rich in a clayish silver, appears with the gold, but for the want of a good working process, it is left to the wild Hood.
The melting, however, is applicable to silver ore only under peculiar circumstances. Amalgamation is more usual and cheaper, but it is tiresome, and the ore must, in most cases, be previously roasted with comman salt to prepare it for amalgamation.
The new methods of obtaining silver from copper ores are of much impor
tance, because they are much cheaper than amalgamation. One is called Augustin's method Where there is chloride of silver he casts it into a strong solution of common salt, and the solution dissolves the silver, which is then precipitated with copper. For this purpose a peculiar form of copper (cement kupfer,) which is obtained by precipitating it from a natural solution of sulphate of copper with the aid of iron, is used. The other method is Ziervogel's, and is grounded on the fact that oxide of silver is unaltered by a certain degree of high temperature, which changes sulphate of copper and iron to oxides. By wasting oxides of silver with the sulphate of copper or iron, the sulphuric acid leaves the baser metal and joins the silver. The sulphate of silver is then dissolved in water and precipitated with copper. By this method only from five to eight per cent. of silver is lost, and it is undoubtedly the best method in use. The specific gravity of silver is 10.50. It is found in a state of nature pure, in combination with sulphur alone, with sulphur and other metals, with chlorine alone, with iron, with antimony, with arsenic and antimony, and seldom with iodine, bromide, or quicksilver.
Silver ores are found almost exclusively in veins in gneiss, mica, gray.' wacke, and clay slate, and sometimes in greenstone, transition limestone and the latter limestones. The veins are principally of quartz, hornstone, lime and brounspar, barytes and fluorspar.
WASTE OF SILVER IN ROASTING ORES. SIR—The observation in your last Journal, giving the result of elaborate and well-digested experiments of Prof. Plattner, on the roasting of silver ore, per se, together with amount of loss of silver in the treatment of various grades of ore, when mineralized by various substances, demands the most serious attention of all parties interested in the treatment of silver ores; or those who may be interested in silver mines. Prof. Plattner, as you are aware, is a gentleman of world-wide reputation in metallurgical pursuits; and any observations emanating from his great and varied experience are worthy of our highest consideration, and the more especially as we now import such & quantity of dry silver ores from South America, and other countries, as well as many of our leading capitalists being interested in silver mines abroad, at which the ores are, in some instances, treated either by means of amalgamation or smelting; in either case roasting the ore is a necessary operation. I am advised that Prof. Plattner will continue these experiments, in order to arrive at a sound practical conclusion thereon, which is much to be desired.
Many years since I had the benefit of Prof. Plattner's personal instruction; since which I have been extensively engaged in the treatment of silver ores, both at home and abroad, by smelting and amalgamation, I believe of all the known classes of silver ores. And being subject in such treatment to the losses described so clearly by Prof. Plattner, I will with your permission, sir, shortly allude to some treatment of ores which I adopted in order to lessen such loss; and I must here regret that I have mislaid some tabular formula which I adopted, and found to answer to a considerable extent in treating ores of different percentages of silver, mineralized by different substànces, or alloyed by various other minerals. It was a table I had prepared for iny own use, as I was largely interested in the purchase of silver ores at that time; the loss of this table, or form of treatment of ores, as well as indisposition, prevents me at present from going as fully into the matter as I could desire, in order to be understood; and I must remark, that to treat ores properly, a careful and complete chemical analysis must be made. Now this is too little understood, and too little practised, to expect that every person engaged in the treatment of silver ores can by any possibility know how to treat the ore placed in their charge for reduction, so that you see primarily our ignorance must produce great loss; and secondly, the difficulty of reconciling the prac