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Table exhibiting the extent, value, &c., of the principal mines in the State, &c.—Continued.
$1 00 2 00
20 $10 00
52 00 160 00
1 25 July
No. of feet in mine.
Name of company.
Total No. of shares.
Shares per foot.
Recent assessments per foot.
Bid per foot,
Last monthly divi
dend per foot.
Asked per foot.
100 Oct. 5 00
Dec. 2 00 July
6 20 6
2 50 7 00 3 00
From the foregoing tables it will be perceived that several mines upon which heavy assessments have been paid are now worth nothing at all, the Baltic, North Potosi, and the White & Murphy, in the Washoe district, the Antelope and Wide West in Esmeralda, and the Sheba in Humboldt, being cases in point. It will also be seen that in other cases of this kind though the assessments per foot are much less, the total amount collected and expended upon these now worthless mines is large, owing to the great number of feet they contain, the Baltimore American, Amador, Buckeye, Burnside, &c., being examples of this class. The Alpha is quoted as worth only $70 per foot, while the assessments amount to $1,240 per foot, from which, if this quotation is to be accepted as indicating its true value, it would appear that the stockholders of this mine have sunk over $325,000, besides the original cost of their grounds; a view that the actual facts in this particular case will hardly justify, the company owning a valuable hoisting works and the prospects of their mine being far from desperate.
The above tables contain the names of only a small portion of the companies that have been organized, generally incorporated at considerable expense, for the purpose of mining, or rather perhaps it should be said dealing and speculatings in mine in this State; nor do they indicate more than one in a hundred of the ledges that at some time between the summers of 1860 and 1864 were supposed to possess some considerable value, and upon which more or less work was during that period performed. These ledges were not confined to the socalled Washoe district, meaning the central western portion of the State, but were scattered all over it except the extreme northern, eastern, and southern parts, which had not then been much explored. The amount of money expended upon or about these ledges in various ways, the most of it in attempts at opening them with shafts or tunnels, varied from the smallest sum to $100,000, being in the aggregate very large, not less perhaps, labor included, than three or four millions of dollars, nearly all of which, though not illegitimately applied the prospecting of these mines being a necessary measure-was practically lost, very few of them having exhibited a sufficient quantity of pay ores to impart to them any value. It must be remembered, however, that but few of them have been opened to any great depth, leaving a chance for the finding of more metalliferous ores, should they ever be more thoroughly explored, as many of them undoubtedly will be. In speaking of this class of lodes on which more or less labor has been expended, no allusion is made to the still larger class, numbered by thousands, which were located under the laws of the various dis
cts, and after being held for a short time were abandoned, being forfeited for want of the requisite improvements, and upon which, fortunately, no work was done at all. But even this class did not fail in seasons of excitement to possess at least a nominal value in the mining-share market, some of them being disposed of to the ignorant or credulous for considerable sums of money. Fortunately this mode of procedure is now pretty much over with, never, it is hoped, to be again reinstated. It will be seen by these tables that while the losses from the depreciation of mines upon which assessments have been paid have been heavier in the Washoe district, they have been quite as frequent, considering the entire number, and even more complete, in the outside districts, where, so far as the stock reports indicate, all values would seem to have been extinguished for this species of property. Of the seventy millions of dollars extracted from the mines in Nevada, it is questionable whether even one-third has been paid to the shareholders in the shape of dividends—not enough in many cases to cover the assessments they have been called upon to pay; while it is well known the mines, taken as a whole, with all improvements, would not sell for anything like what they cost. Yet at present many of these properties are depressed in price far below their intrinsic value, as the experience of the future will undoubtedly show.
Extent and cost of underground work.-Including tunnels, shafts, adits, drifts, and actual stopings excavated in the business of exploitation, prospecting, and ventilating the Comstock vein, it is estimated that the various companies owning mines along it have executed an amount of subterranean work equal to nearly forty miles in linear extent. The expense attending this kind of work depends so wholly upon their size, length or depth, the material to be removed or penetrated, and other circumstances surrounding each particular case, that it would be difficult to fix upon a figure indicating their average cost. The price for excavating shafts and tunnels ranges from five to fifty dollars per running foot, many of the larger tunnels having cost throughout more than twenty dollars per foot. These prices, as are all the other money estimates in this report being based on specie values. The sinking of the larger and deeper shafts, including timbering, has generally cost from twenty to forty dollars per foot. The large shaft intended for both working and prospecting purposes now being put down jointly by the Empire and Imperial companies at Gold Hill, estimated throughout, will cost at the rate of fifiy-eight or sixty dollars per foot. This is, however, of extra large dimensions, being seven feet four inches by thirty feet eight inches, and to be carried down 1,200 feet. It will call for twelve months' time and an expenditure of about $80,000 to complete it. Short tunnels and shafts of moderate depth, where the ground is tolerably favorable, can be excavated for six or seven dollars per foot, and sometimes for less. In this kind of work on and about the Comstock ledge there has been expended between two and three millions of dollars, exclusive of the expense attendant, on the removal of the ores and the timbering up of the mines.
4.-MINING PROPERTY, ETC. Number and capacity of mills, hoisting works, 80.-There are at this time 170 mills for the crushing and reduction of ores in the State of Nevada. This number embraces only such establishments as are now completed and ready for running or nearly so, there being several, some of them of large capacity, in course of construction, but not sufficiently advanced to warrant speaking of them as being already in existence. These mills carry 2,564 stamps, weighing from 400 to 800 pounds each, the average being about 600 pounds, and have an aggregate capacity equal to 6,322 horses. Their average cost has been about $60,000, or an aggregate of $10,000,000, one of them, the Gould & Curry, carrying 80 stamps and supplied with two large engines, has cost, with grounds, alterations, and surroundings, over $1,000,000; several others have cost from $150,000 to $250,000, the Ophir, in Washoe valley, having cost much more. Of this number 35 are driven by water and the balance by steam, a few of each class using both water and steam. Of these mills 36 are in Story corinty, 34 in Lyon, 10 in Washoe, 8 in Ormsby, and 1 in Douglas, a total of 89, all of which are running on Comstock ore; Esmeralda county contains 21 mills, Nye 8, Lander 22, Humboldt 5, and Churchill 4. Some of these structures are very substantial, being built of brick and granite or other stone; some, on the contrary, being cheap and fragile; the machinery, however, is in most cases good. At the
of them were erected labor, freights, and material were much higher than at present, wherefore they cost a great deal more than equally good establishments would now do. Attached to most of these mills are shops, ore and timber sheds, and in some cases, boarding-houses, &c., the cost of which is generally included with that of the mill. Twenty per cent. or more of these mills are not at present running, most of those lying idle being in the outside districts. Those employed upon the Comstock ores are mostly kept running, except a few that may be stopping for repairs. Of all the mills in Esmeralda county not more than one-half are at work, nor have they been for the past two years. In Linder county there are also many unemployed, particularly about Austin. The causes of these stoppages are various; in a few cases the mills are imperfect and not fit to do good work. In others they have been tied up with litigation, or perhaps been unable to run steadily for want of water. The principal trouble, however, in both Lander and Esmeralda has been an insufficiency of pay-ores to keep them running, the ledges about Austin being so extremely small that although in some cases rich, they can supply only a very inconsiderable
quaritity of ore, while in Esmeralda,' where the ledges are large, the good ores found upon the surface appear to have run out.
appear to have run out. A number of deep prospecting shafts have lately been undertaken there, and it is generally believed by those best acquainted with the mines that bodies of remunerative ores will yet be found at greater depths.
Most of these mills run day and night, stopping only on Sundays; at which time machinery is examined and such temporary repairs as may be needed are made. They employ from five to fifty hands each, the usual numbe: being from ten to fifteen, though the Gould & Curry mill requires over a hundred. In a majority of cases the mill-owners also own mines and crush their own rock, while some do custom work, reducing ores for others at so much per ton, or buy and crush it on their own account. A few crush the ores dry, though nearly all adopt the wet method. It is generally calculated that each stamp will crush a ton of ore every twenty-four hours. Some do less and others do more, according to the weight of the stamp and the character of the ore. Besides these mills there are in the State six smelting works, the most of them on a small scale, and twenty-five or thirty arastras--some driven by water, but the greater number by horse or mule power. There are also in the State about titty steam pumping and hoisting works, many of them structures of a costly and inassive kind. There are also in the State a number of large foundries and machine. shops, and over fifty saw-mills, mostly propelled by water, with one small flourmill now running, and another being erected.
Roads, ditches, fc.-A number of toli-roads, several of them extending over the sierra and others quite into the interior of the State, have been built under the charters from the present State or former Territorial legislature. The length of these roads, some of which have been very expensive and formidable works, is not less in the aggregate than three. hundred miles, the entire cost of their construction having been over $500,000. One of these, the Kingsbury road, crossing the sierra near Genoa, has cost, with alterations and improvements, $150,000; the amount of tolls it has taken in being more than double that sum. As a general thing, however, these roads have not proved lucrative, the amouni of tolls received barely sufficing to keep them in repair and pay a moderate interest on the investment, some failing to even do this. The water ditches of this State, built either for milling or irrigating purposes, and generally for both, are numerous, but not, with the exception of two or three, of great magnitude. The Humboldt ditch, nearly one-half built, taking water from that river and conveying it to the vicinity of the principal mines, is seven feet wide on top, five on the bottom, and two deep. It will be over sixty miles long, and will cost when completed nearly $100,000. Preparations are now being made for constructing a large aqueduct, to be built of wood, for taking the entire body of water running in the west branch of Carson river from its cañon and conveying it to Empire City, a distance of nearly thirty miles. The work as projected will cost over $200,000. Other ditches and flumes, not of such magnitude, but still quite extensive, are to be found at Empire City, Dayton, in Washoe and Truckee valleys, and elsewhere throughout the State, the number of small ones along the eastern slope of the sierra and among the mountains of the interior, built mainly for irrigating purposes, being quite large; and gradually, as population and improvements increase, the running waters of the State will be diverted from their natural into artificial channels, to be used for irrigation and propulsive power. There are about thirty saw-mills in the State, all but one driven by water. With the exception of three or four of limited capacity in the Reese river country, they are all situated in the foot-lills along the eastern base
of the sierra, where water-power is abundant, and where alone any really good timber is to be found. The price of lumber at these mills is about $20 per thousand, the cost increasing rapidly with the distance it has to be häuled.
Number of companies formed for mining purposes ; distruts erected, ledges located, 8c.--The number of mining companies incorporated for the purpose of prospecting for locating, working, or dealing in mines in the State of Nevada, amounts to over one thousand. Many of these never proceeded to actual operations beyond the act of organizing, and most of them cannot be said to have a present existence. Besides these incorporated companies three times as many ininor associations, though often consisting of the same parties, were organized under the laws of the several mining districts for similar purposes ; most of these, like their more pretentious neighbors, having since been disbanded and ceased as companies to have any existence. Of the number of districts erected or ledges located by these numerous parties during the three or four years that the mining excitement raged, no accurate statement can be made, new districts being formed and after a short time disbanded, to be again followed by others covering in part or perhaps the whole of the same territory; and ledges being located by the thousand, to be in like manner given up, being forfeited from failure to do the requisite amount of work or otherwise comply with the laws of the district. In size these districts varied greatly, as they still do, being from ten to a hundred miles square, and baving as a general rule natural objects, such as mountains, valleys, ravines, &c., for boundaries. The number of mining districts in the State regularly organized and having a recognized legal existence, with records and officials, may be set down at about one hundred; the number of ledges worked sufficiently to hold them under the local laws of the district where they are situated, may be roughly estimated at between four and five thousand. Upon some of these a large amount of work has been done, though upon nine-tenths of them but very little. Of the adult population of the State about two-thirds are engaged in the various branches of mining. Wages of miners vary from $3 50 to $5 per day, or from $60 to $100 per month. The prices of labor, like almost everything else, are from fifty to seventy-five per cent. higher in this State than in California.
Taxes and legislation.--The only measures adopted by the general government looking to a realization of revenue from the mines on this coast are the laws passed by Congress in the years 1864 and 1865. The first of these, which took effect August 29, 1864, provided for the levying of a tax of one-half of one per cent. on all bullion assayed, and prohibiting, under severe penalties, the sale, transfer, exchange, transportation, exportation, or working of any bullion not having first been assayed. The other law requires every miner whose receipts amount to over one thousand dollars per year, and every person, firm or company employing others in the business of mining, to take out a license for which they shall pay the sum of ten dollars. Neither of these measures can be considered impolitic, unjust or oppressive, nor are they the subject of complaint by the great mass of those most affected by them. In addition to these acts the legislature of the State of Nevada enacted a law two years since, by which it is provided that from the gross returns or assayed value per ton of all ores, quartz or minerals in that State, from which either gold or silver is extracted, there shall first be deducted the sum of twenty dollars per ton, and upon seventy-five per cent. of the remainder a tax of one per cent. ad valorem shall be levied for State and county purposes, provision also being made for collecting a like tax upon any of this class of ores transported from the State. The revenue derived from this source for the year 1865 amounted, in Story county, where the principal mines are situated, to $40,145, to which may be added two or three thousand for outside districts. The State also taxes the mills, heisting works, and all other above-ground fixtures and properties, real and personal, but not the mines proper. The mineral land law passed at