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The following statement will indicate the general locality of this Rocky Mountain coal field :
If to this amount we add the 200,000 miles previously ascertained, we find that we have a workable coal area of nearly a million and a half of square miles right in the heart of North America. There are, besides this great Rocky Mountain coal field, a large number of detached basins, many of them larger than the anthracite coal field of Pennsylvania. It is probable that many of these are anthracite in character, containing fresh supplies of this superior mineral fuel, and looking to the extension of manufacturing industry west of the Rocky Mountains on a very large scale. Of the coal fields east of the Rocky Mountains, the New England basin, especially in Rhode Island, has lately developed an unexpected value. It has attracted especial attention in connection with increased activity in working the copper deposits of the neighborhood. No statistics of production are accessible in the preparation of this report which show the result of later operations, but reliable newspaper reports indicate increased activity and greater value in these deposits of Rhode Island anthracite than had hitherto been supposed.
in the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania we find a steady increase of production. The operations of the first year reported, 1820, embraced the exportation and shipment by canal, from the Lehigh coal basin, of 365 tons of anthracite. At the close of 1829 it is found that the previous ten years' operations embraced the marketing of 359,190 tons, of which 186,059 tons were from the Schuylkill, and 166,131 tons were from the Lehigh coal region. The great Wyoming region had just begun to demonstrate its capacity, by the shipment of 7,000 tons during the year 1829. The range of operations rapidly increased up to the present time, the Pennsylvania anthracites sending to market, in 1869, 13,221,386 tons, showing a grand aggregate for the decade of 185,078,962. In regard to this anthracite production, it seems evident that a revolution of mining process is impending, as significant and important as the change that has been going on in gold mining on the Pacific slope, from shallow places to the deep veins in the quartz rock. The great bulk of anthracite production hitherto has been from the working of outcrop deposits. This character of workings is susceptible still of considerable expansion from the prospecting of new outcrops. But from
the number of this class of deposits that have been exhausted, it is evi. dent that no very great increase of production can be expected from them. The old method of mining by slopes will of course pass away with the exhaustion of these deposits. The extension of the shafting process will be necessitated when the mammoth coal vein at the base of the anthracite system of Pennsylvania is attacked. This immense mass of rich mineral, from 20 to 30 feet thick, has been scarcely touched in the previous operations of the anthracite region. To reach the synclinals of these deep beds, shafts from 500 to 1,000 feet will be necessary, from the lower points of which the dip coal of a wide area may be raised.
When this more elaborate mining system is once adopted, we may expect a great enlargement of this branch of our coal production.
The proximity of the anthracite regions to the seaboard has mainly absorbed the mining enterprise of the Eastern and Middle States. But the time has arrived when the prices of fuel will warrant the extensive exportation and shipment of the bituminous deposits further inland. The rapid increase in consumption of coal indicates that in 1885, 15 years hence, an increase of not less than 25,000,000 tons of coal will be demanded. To meet this demand it will not be safe to rely upon any increase of Pennsylvania anthracite production beyond 8,000,000 tons per annum, making the annual aggregate of that trade about 20,000,000. This will leave 17,000,000 to be supplied from the semi-anthracite and bituminous coals of the great Appalachian coal basin, the outcrop of which lies from 150 to 200 miles further inland than the outcrop of the anthracite. This immense basin, extending from Pennsylvania southwest into Alabama, embraces a workable area of about 60,000 square miles, of which 12,656 are in Pennsylvania, 12,000 in Ohio, 550 in Maryland, 15,900 in Virginia and West Virginia, 10,700 in Kentucky, 3,700 in Tennessee, 4,320 in Alabama, and 175 in Georgia. Its length is 875 miles, with a breadth varying from 30 to 180 miles. It is divided into six subordinate basins, and generally arranged into two groups of beds, separated by the Mahoning sandstone, the lower of which, corresponding to the white-ash formations of the anthracite regions, covers about three-fourths of the area. The aggregate production of this coal field in 1864 was somewhat less than 10,000,000 tons. The commercial demands of the country would seem to require a speedy enlargement of this production. There is no reason to doubt that within the next twenty years the annual coal production of this region will be increased four-fold. The northern coal field, embracing some 13,000 square miles, is in the lower peninsula of Michigan, Its coal deposits are less rich and valuable than in the Appalachian coal field, but will prove invaluable in meeting the local wants of the community. But little has as yet been done for its development, its annual production scarce exceeding 100,000 tons. The great central coal field, of 50,000 square miles, extends through Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, a length of 350 miles, with a breadth ranging from 150 to 200 miles. The coal measures here are about 900 feet thick, with an underlying palezoic base of not over 3,000 feet, the base of the Appalachian basin, in Pennsylvania, being five miles thick. Its annual production is estimated at between 2,500,000 and 3,000,000 tons. The western coal field of Missouri and lowa is probably a continuation of the last-named. It occupies an area of 45,000 square miles, of which 21,000 are in Missouri and 24,000 in Iowa. The coals of Arkansas and Nebraska are but the thin western edges of the great western coal basin. The annual production of this field does not reach a million tons. The coal deposits of the Pacific slope are as yet but imperfectly understood, being not over 6,000 miles in extent. Our entire annual coal production has reached and exceeded 30,000,000 tons about one-half of which is raised from the Pennsylvania anthracite coal basin, with an aggregate area of less than 500 miles.
The coal production of Great Britain during 1868 is returned at 103,141,157 tons, of which 10,967,032 tons were exported. The coal mined in Belgium during 1867 amounted to 12,755,822 tons, of which two-thirds were absorbed for domestic consumption, and the balance exported. These limited European coal fields have evidently reached their palmy days of production. While the world's demand for coal is constantly increasing, they must either remain stationary or decline. The immense coal fields of the North American Continent will then come into requisition, adding enormous power and volume to our production and trade.
MINING LAW OF JULY 26, 1866, U. S. STATUTES, Vol. 14, P. 251.
During the past year under mining legislation many applications for patents were received, and for a large portion of the cases final titles have been issued to the claimants. As the liberal and salutary provi. sions of the law are becoming familiar to miners, the applications for patents are steadily on the increase.
As is usual in the administration of a new statute, many questions have been presented for decision under the mining law, of which the fol. lowing are some of the most prominent:
TIME OF FILING ADVERSE CLAIMS.
A case has arisen in which the plat and field-notes of a claim were approved on different days by the surveyor general, an adverse claimant having appeared in the interim, and the question arose whether the right of the adverse claimant to appear was limited by the first or last of these dates. On this point it was ruled that the adverse claimant has the right to contest up to the date of the last approval, which is generally of the plat; the field-notes being necessarily the basis of the same, and it being proper that such notes should first be approved.
The reference to an adverse claimant in the third section is simply by way of defining the duties of the surveyor general, and provides that if no adverse claimant has appeared at the expiration of ninety days, the survey shall be executed, thereby implying that if an adverse claimant bas appeared the survey shall be suspended or omitted until the adverse interest is judicially adjusted in the manner directed in the sixth section of said act.
Inquiry has also been made as to whether, after the publication of the notice, and approval of the survey by the surveyor general, an adverse claimant could arrest proceedings for patent. In regard to this it is held that if the application for patent was a regular and bona fide proceeding, an adverse party could not stay executive proceedings after the approval by the surveyor general, but if fraud is proved in the application, the proceedings may be suspended to afford an opportunity to test judicially the rights of parties.
LOCATIONS AND PURCHASES SINCE JULY 26, 1866. With respect to the validity of locations and purchases since the passage of the mining act, inquiry has been made whether ten or more men could locate 200 feet each on a ledge, one or two of them buy out the interest of the others, and then apply for and receive a patent for all the ground by showing title by deeds. To this it was replied that, in regard to locations made since the date of the mining act, a patent may issue on any claim held agreeably to local mining rules and regulations of the district, State, or Territory in which it lies, whether 't be held by purchase or location, provided that individual locations do 200 exceed the maximum of 200 feet, with an additional 200 feet o the discoverer, and that company locations do not exceed 3,000 leet in length along the lode, which is the limitation in the fourth section of said act of Congress. If, therefore, the mining regulations of a district are such as to allow ten or more men each to locate 200 feet on a ledge, and one or two of them buy out all the interest, and in that way obtain a good possessory title, which could be maintained in the local courts, then, and in that case, the claim is one that this office will be authorized to recognize under said mining statute.
The General Land Office cannot, under the law, issue a patent for a mining claim which is not in accordance with the mining rules and reg. ulations in force where the claim is situated, or which were in force at the date of the location of the claim. Therefore, as the 2,000 feet in the supposed case would not exceed the maximum provided in the act of Congress, the only question for consideration is whether it would be sanctioned by the mining regulations of the district.
If the purchase effected in the manner suggested is good under the local mining regulations of the district, it will be considered sufficient in the General Land Office, provided that the $1,000 expenditure has been made upon it as required by the act of Congress, said act limiting the right to apply for and receive patents to those who have previously occupied and improved their claims according to the local custom or rules of miners in the district where the same is situated, who have expended in actual labor and improvements thereon an amount of not less than $1,000, and in regard to whose possession there is no controversy or opposing claim.
SECOND STAY OF PROCEEDINGS DENIED.
A case was brought to our attention in which it was shown that, after the application for a patent had been made at the register's office, opposing parties appeared, claiming that they held the possessory right to a portion of the lode applied for, under the local laws, and that the applicants for patent were endeavoring to secure from the United States the title to certain mining ground under a new name, which belonged to said contestants by virtue of prior discovery, location, and possession, and asking a suspension of proceedings on said application for patent, in order that the case might be tried in the local courts.
This request was accordingly granted, and an action in ejectment, commenced in court by the adverse claimants. When the case was called, however, the plaintiffs declined to prosecute, and allowed the 'cause to be dismissed at their own cost, for the reason, as they averred, that the action in ejectment would not lie, because they were in the quiet and peaceable possession and occupancy of the lode, which they claimed, but desired that this office would grant them another stay of proceedings, in order that they might try the case in court a second time.
This the Commissioner declined to do, holding that as the adverse claimants had once enjoyed the privileges accorded them under the mining statute, and had their day in court, they could not be allowed a second stay of proceedings by reason of their having failed to properly prosecute their cause in the first instance, and that the case must now proceed upon the pending application for patent, it being further held that the adverse parties did not satisfactorily show that they labored under any disability to prosecute by being in the quiet and peaceable possession and occupancy of the property, for the reason that there is no satisfactory evidence that the lodes in controversy are one and the same, and even if they are identical, there is sufficient evidence that the applicants for patent occupy, and have occupied, a portion of it, have made a location on it under the local mining laws and customs, sunk shafts and performed other work upon it, and if these acts of ownership and possession did not lay a foundation for an action of ejectment, it is difficult to tell what would.
Even if an ejectment had been impracticable, which it was not, there could have been no difficulty in proceeding in equity, either by a bill to quiet title, or an injunction to restrain the applicants from receiving a patent from the United States, or, in the event of their obtaining one, constituting them trustees of the same for the benefit of the rightful owners of the claim or possessory right thereto, under the local laws, inasmuch as the mining act requires the patent to be issued to parties having previously occupied their claims in accordance with the local customs or rules of miners in the respective mining districts. The pretense of want of power to prosecute is therefore gratuitous, and to send the case into the courts a second time would be, under the circumstances, trifling with the mining act.
ARE MILL SITES PATENTABLE?
The question having been presented as to whether mill sites are patentable under the mining act, this office ruled as follows:
Section 9 of the mining law provides that the owners of water rights shall be maintained and protected in the same, whenever they are recognized and acknowledged by the local customs, laws, and decisions of courts, but makes no provisions for issuing patents for them. The act, however, enables claimants of mineral veins to include in their diagrams and obtain patents for such reasonable quantity of surface ground as may become necessary for the convenient working of the mines, as fixed by the local custom or rules.
Consequently, when a mill site is used in connection with a mine and has reduction works erected, it is ruled that a fair and liberal construction of the mining act will authorize us to treat such mill site as a part of the mining claim, provided it is so held under the local custom or laws, and to include it in the patent with the vein or lode; but it is evi. dent that in no other manner than as a part of a mining claim does the act of July 26, 1866, authorize the issuing of patents for mill sites. When a mill site is used for the convenient working of a mine for which an application for patent is made, actual contiguity between such mill site and mine is not deemed absolutely essential, and if the mill site is held and possessed by such applicant for patent, agreeably to local customs or laws, it may be included in the patent for their lode, even though some distance may intervene between such mill site and lodo claims.
DITCHES AND CANALS UPON THE PUBLIC LANDS-EFFECT OF THE
NINTH SECTION OF THE MINING ACT,
The Commissioner having been called on for a construction of the ninth section of the mining act, as to whether the rights of ditch or