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The results of the first season's fishing was so productive, \ |
and the number of whales harpooned and " cut in " so large, | \
that, according to a report which has been sent us, this ' t,
company was able, at the end of the first year, to return the \\
capital sunk in the firm of dividends.



THE GREAT ARGENTINE INDUSTRIES 249

Naturally such results cannot fail to draw new adventurers
into this industry, which in turn will increase and develop
the wealth of the country, at the same time procuring for
the country a class of men formed by the strenuous labour
of Antarctic life ; a class of which the young Argentine navy
has the greatest need.



CHAPTER III

MINES, ELECTRICAL AND OTHER INDUSTRIES

The Argentine has not entered the industrial age— She has no coal-mines in

operation, no natural motive forces of any importance.
Mines — Symptoms of the awakening of the mining industry^Numerous lodes

in the Andes — The mines of La Rioja and Catamarca — Mines in other

provinces and territories — Mining legislation.
Elkctric Industries — Tramways ; their development, their perfected equip-
ment, and their profits — Progress of electric lighting— Telegrapks—

Telephones.
Various Industries — List of various industries established in Buenos Ayres,

according to the last census, with the value of their products.
Comparison between the statistics of 1895 and those of 1904 —Progress realised

in 1908 — "Workshops and factories.

THE Argentine Republic, as we have already on various '
occasions explained, has not yet entered upon the in-
dustrial phase. All its capital and all its energies tend
toward the exploitation of the soil, and as the results are |
greater than the boldest speculator could have predicted, the
country has no need at present, with its small population,
to launch itself into the unknown by entering the province!
of industry.

Moreover, the Argentine does not so far possess coal
or iron measures easily workable, and has very little labour
at its disposal, and therefore should not disperse its activities
among too many objects. It is its best policy to limit
itself to producing articles that it can make more cheaply
than the foreigner; not artificially to develop its industries
in the shelter of an ultra-protectionist tariff. It would fall
to the consumer to pay for such products of the national
industry, and the state would lose a serious portion of its
revenues.

In other words, we may well ask whether the Argentine,
in addition to its agricultural wealth, should pretend to a
great industrial future, like that of the United States.
250



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MINES, ELECTRICAL AND OTHER INDUSTRIES 251

So far we cannot reply in the affirmative ; not, at least,
under present conditions. However rich the subsoil of the
country may be, a matter at present uncertain, especially in
respect of coal and iron measures, which are the basis of all
industries, we must remember that the majority of these
measures are situated in the region of the Cordillera, 4000
to 5000 feet above sea-level, over 900 miles from the coast,
far from roads or waterways, and are consequently very badly
situated for the establishment of industrial centres.

What coal and iron the Argentine may possess is
distributed over a region of some thousands of miles in
extent, which does not appear to contain continuous lodes
or measures, and in which there are no real valleys or river-
basins. Putting all questions of tariff aside, but considering
the constant lowering of freights, we think the Argentine
will always find it cheaper to obtain its supplies from
abroad, except such as it can produce economically, rather
than attempt to embrace all industries in its dreams of
greatness.

Neither can we expect from the utilisation of natural

motive forces a development which might in some degree

compensate for the absence of fuel. There are a few

waterfalls in C(5rdoba and in Tucuman, but such energy as

they might furnish would hardly allow one to hope much

from their adaptation to industrial uses. One of the most

important of these falls is that below the Barrage San Roque,

in the Sierra de Cordoba ; it belongs to the North American

Company, " Luz y Fuerza " (Light and Force). The company's

plant gives a yield of about 3000 horse-power, which is

employed, for the greater part, in providing light and motive

; power to the town of C6rdoba, and also for the production of

I carbide of calcium. Another installation, belonging to the

I Molet Company, has a capacity of some 700 or 800 horse-

, power, which is employed in the same manufacture.

The falls of the Yguassu, on the upper Parana, some 230
miles above Corrientes, on the confines of Brazil, Paraguay
and the Argentine, have been described as a marvel of nature.
It would seem that these falls represent a force three times
greater than Niagara ; their width is 12,000 feet, or more
than two miles, with a fall of 212 feet. Unfortunately this



252 THE ARGENTINE IN THE 20th CENTURY

cataract is on the border of the Argentine territory, in s
region of forests accessible only with difficulty, and wil:
probably flow for many years yet before any one profits by
this enormous natural source of power.

Mines. — Although the industrial future of the Argentinti
is as yet by no means clear, we must admit that during
the last four years there has been a livelier movement in
favour of gold, silver, and copper mining, which has resulted t
in the flotation of several important limited companiesi
It was to support these first steps that the Government
built an aerial railway — one of the boldest works evei
attempted in the whole world — to exploit the rich mines ol
Famatina.

"Over the whole stretch of the eastern slopes of the
Andes," says an important official publication * which we
take for guide, "from Bolivia to Tierra del Fuego, the
existence of numerous mineral-bearing regions is proved
notably in the Provinces of Mendoza, San Juan, La RiojaT
Catamarca, Salta, Jujuy, Tucuman, Cdrdoba, and San Luisj
where traces of ancient mineral workings have beeii
discovered." t

There are many villages which ever since the Spaniskj
Conquest have drawn their sustenance from the gold andl
silver which their inhabitants obtain, by rudimentarjj
processes, from the beds of stream or river, and by plaiii
mining. Also, despite the difficulties of transport, various!
well-organised companies have obtained very fair resultsj
from their workings, since they obtained their concessiomi
a few years ago. Now that the feelers of the railwayi ijurij],.
systems have reached these districts, and the raining!
companies have established aerial cable-ways to connect them,
with the mines, we can already perceive a greater vitality;
in this industry. i

In addition to the wealth of the Cordillera, prospectors arei
discovering new lodes in the interior of the country ; but, as:
always happens, miners prefer to gather in already familiar



* Description nommaire de la Ripuhlique Argentine comme pays d' immigration
1904.

f The Argentine lost much of itn mineral -wealth when Potozi and La Pa2
were lost to Bolivia. — [Trans.]



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MINES, ELECTRICAL AND OTHER INDUSTRIES 253

districts, rather than undertake long journeys, and the
labour of prospecting at their own expense.

The best-known mines of the Argentine are distributed as
follows : —

In the Province of Mendoza there are mines of copper,
""It silver-bearing galena, gold-bearing quartz, coal, alabaster,
' "! slate, and marble, and wells of petroleum ; in the Province of
'"*! San Juan, of gold-bearing quartz, silver, copper, antimony,
"'*? coal, sulphur, and amianthus.* In view of the development
^^^\ which this region may undergo through the exploitation
'^®f of the coal-measures, the Great Western Railway has
''«! decided to construct a branch line as far as the coal mines
of Salagasta (Mendoza).

The Province of La Rioja has been known for a long
time for its rich mines of metallic silver, and also for its
copper mines, whose ores contain a high percentage of gold
and silver; and for its gold "placer" mines. It is to facili-
tate the working of these mines that the aerial cable-way
is being constructed, which will unite Cerro de Famatiua
and the mining centre of Chilecito with the railways.
Here, as everywhere, skilled miners are somewhat
scarce.

The Province of Catarriarca, the centre of the Capillitas
mining country, possesses copper mines with a high percentage
of silver and gold, which have been worked for more than
thirty years. These mines, which are, it appears, very rich
in minerals, have been acquired by a foreign company, and
will be the object of an important enterprise; here, too, an
aerial cable-way will be built to transport the ore from the
mines to a lower level.

There are also in this region two important smelting
works ; " Le Pilcian " and " La Constancia," which are buried
in the depths of the forests of carob-trees, which furnish
abundant fuel. In other parts are found surface veins
of copper, silver-bearing galena, bismuth, antimony, mica,
gold-bearing quartz, as well as " placer " mines and coal-
measures.

The Provinces of Salta and Jujuy, which possess rich veins
of auriferous quartz, argentiferous galena, copper, borate of

' AmiunthuB — the beBt quality of asbestos. — [Tkans.]



254 THE ARGENTINE IN THE 20th CENTURY



t



lime, lignite and petroleum, are famous for the gold obtained
from the streams that descend from their mountains.
Undertakings have been formed with foreign and native
capital, and profitable results are expected. The extension of
the Argentine railways to Bolivia will still further develop
the exploitation of mining districts all through this
region.

In former times silver mines were worked in the
Province of Tucuman. In Aconquija also we find mines
of copper which must be a continuation of those of
Catamarca.

The Provinces of Cordoba and San Luis, besides ascer-
tained veins of gold-bearing quartz, galena and copper, con-
tain mines of manganese and wolfram, and well-known
quarries of marble, and of onyx, both green and of other
shades.

In the Territories of Tierra del Fuego and Santa Cruzi ^
the sands along the Atlantic coast contain, especially after'
storms, an abundance of gold in powder and small nuggets, j
whose extraction gives employment to numbers of workers. * i
There also are seams of lignite and of peat. Finally, in Santa !i
Cruz there are several salt workings, the produce being sent |
to Buenos Ayres. j

The River Chuhut, in the Territory of Chubut, brings i lain]
down fine gold along its bed, as do its numerous small ji ^i
tributaries, which rise in the Andean slopes. The presence j
of gold more than 100 miles from the Cordillera tempted i
some colonists to organise an expedition ; at the foot of the
mountain they found gold in nuggets.

Another company exploits the salt pits of the Valdez
Peninsula, and another the quarry of flat granite slabs, known
as the Atlas Quarry.

For many years now large quantities of gold have been
found in the rich " placers " of the Territory of Neuquen,
where copper also has been discovered, silver-bearing galena,
coal, and petroleum. The gold taken out of the washers of
Villa Michico and the neighbourhood is estimated at 330 lb.
avoirdupois annually.

' A few years ago a company was formed with North Amnrican nnd
Argentine capital to work the sands in this manner in Tiorra del Fuegu.



MINES, ELECTRICAL AND OTHER INDUSTRIES 255

In the Territory of Rio Negro there arc abundant
quarries of gypsum, limestone, and other building
materials ; in that of the Pam-pa Central copper has
been recently discovered and is being worked ; in that of
Misiones there is native copper, iron, and manganese ; in
that of the Andes (Puiia de Atacama), there are immense
deposits of borate of lime, as well as veins of quartz and
" placers,"

Considering the vast extent of these territories, which
have never been seriously explored except at a few points, we
have every reason to believe that it will be many years
before we have even an approximate knowledge of the
mineral wealth they contain ; but the data gathered up to
the present time augur well for the future of the mining
industry in the Argentine.

We will add finally, as a further reason for success, the
fact that the law regarding mines is remarkably liberal ;
the State may not exploit them on its own account, but
ciincedes them to any adult applicant capable of administer-
ing his own property.

The same mining laws are in force throughout the
country. To acquire a claim it suffices to present a written
demand, containing an exact indication of the position and
nature of the claim demanded, the details of its discovery,
and all other useful information, accompanied by a sample
of the mineral. Immediately upon the presentation of this
demand the administration enters it with the date of de-
position, in order to prove the right of priority; and
directly the concession has been surveyed and delimited,
the claimant has full rights in his mine and may dispose
of it as he wills. The mine is untaxed, and so are the
mineral products, whether sold at home or abroad. The
only obligation imposed upon the miner is that he shall
work his mine with at least four miners during 230
days of the year; if this condition be not fulfilled, any
other person may demand the concession of the abandoned
mine.*

* Senator Domingo Peree has just laid before Parliament a projected law
Bubstituting a fine or tax for this obligation.



256 THE ARGENTINE IN THE 20th CENTURY

The Electrical Industry. — It is greatly to the credit
of the Argentine that everything that makes for pro-
gress, for an increased welfare or greater convenience,
is immediately applied by the Republic. The latter
quickly absorbs all improvements and, profiting by the
experience of older nations, immediately puts new pro-
cedures into practice, instead of lingering in the rut of
outworn systems. Thus it was, for example, in the casei
of the electrical industry. The Argentine has no need, ini
this respect, to envy the most advanced nations. Ini
Buenos Ayres — for only the large centres can be progres-'
sive to this extent — all the tramway and electric lightingij
concerns are most excellently equipped, and are in this!
matter equal to the best installations of England or the)
States. j

The electric tramway companies, whose tracks crossi
Buenos Ayres in every direction, are seven in number,],
forming a network of lines which are distributed as'
follows : —

The " Anglo - Argentine " Company, 18'8 miles; the!
" Capital " Company, 34'7 miles ; the " Metropolitan "!
Company, 19'8 miles; the "Grand National," 76*9 miles;!
the "Compaguie Lacroze de Buenos Ayres," 44 miles; the;
" Southern Electric Tramways, 49 miles ; and the Harbour
and City of Buenos Ayres, 6'8 miles.

The great event of 1908 was the amalgamation of these
companies by the " Anglo-Argentine," which proposes to
unite these lines under a single management, in order tc
form a vast network, comprising all the principal lines, with
the exception of the " Compagnie Lacroze " and the" Harboui
and City of Buenos Ayres." The total capital invested ic
this important undertaking amounts to not less than
£14,000,000.

It is to be hoped that this great financial operation, whieb
will place the Anglo-Argentine Company at the head of tb(
most important tramway companies of the world, will not
fail to benefit the public, and that the Company will alsc
turn its attention to improving its equipment and to lowering
its fares to a uniform rate.

On the other hand the number of passengers carried bj



MINES, ELECTRICAL AND OTHER INDUSTRIES 257

the Buenos Ayrea tramways is constantly increasing, as may
be seen in the followinof table : —





Passengers Carried.


Gross


Year.


Horse
Traction.


Electric.


Horse
Traction.


1901 ..


. 95,430,421


30,088,803


£848,318


1902 ..


. 92,038,025


33,593,734


827,979


1903 ..


. 71,048,519


62,670,779


636,801


1904 ..


65,532,745


82,740,352


587,022


1905 ..


. 34,480,547


174,455,022


489,741


1906 ..


. 24,927,089


175,773,158


232,903


1907 ..


7,338,563


217,702,183


67,659


1908 ..


293,209


254,780,627


1,980



Electric.


Total Profits.


£294,822


£1,143,140


334,060


1,162,0:39


596,719


1.233,520


805,071


1,370,093


1,049,949


1,539,090


1,565,472


1,798,375


1,926,054


1,993.793


2,229,547


2,231,527



These figures go to confirm all we have said as to the
enormous development of capital in the Argentine, and of its
commercial activity.

Electric Lighting. — In the matter of illumination, Buenos
Ayres was early discontented with the old methods ; electricity
is now preferred both for public and private purposes. To-
day there are 721 miles of gas pipes and 233 miles of electric
cables.

The capital of the electric lighting companies is estimated
at nearly £2,000,000, and their output at 30,905 horse-power.
The electrical supply is chiefly in the hands of the German
Electricity Company, with a capital of £1,850,000, which has
already absorbed the two companies previously in existence.
Its equipment was furnished by the famous firm of Siemens
Halske, which stands in the front rank of German electrical
manufacturing firms.

Telegraphs. — Another mark of progress is the con-
tinual extension of the telegraphic system. The national,
provincial, and private lines together represent to-day
a length of 31,215 miles, of which 15,125 belong to the
State ; twenty years ago the mileage was barely half this
figure.

As for telegraphic communication with the exterior, there
are two foreign cable companies, one possessing the cable
running to the United States via Galveston, and the other
that communicating with Europe via Madeira. Communica-
tion between London and Buenos Ayres is now established in
about forty-five minutes, while a few years ago the average
was five hours.



258 THE ARGENTINE IN THE 20th CENTURY

Telephones. — The telephone is used in the capital and the
principal towns — Rosario, C6rdoba, Santa F6, Tucuman,
Mendoza, etc. Buenos Ayres is connected by telephone with
Montevideo (124 miles), Rosario (190 miles), and will shortly
be connected with Bahia Blanca (437 miles). The two com-
panies established in Buenos Ayres, the " Telephonic Union
of the Rio de la Plata " and the " Co-operative Telephonic
Company," represent a capital, respectively, of £24)3,963 and
£582,032.

All these data, which we merely mention in passing, go
to prove that the Argentine has assimilated all the details
of industrial progress, even in their most improved forms.
Experiments in wireless telegraphy are now being made
with a view to communicating at long distance with the
steamers leaving or approaching Buenos Ayres.

Various Industries. — At the end of 1908, according
to the statistics of the official industrial census of that
year, which was undertaken by the Department of Com-
merce in the Ministry of Agriculture, there were, in the
city of Buenos Ayres, 10,349 factories or workshops,
representing a capital of £23,443,144. The sales of these
factories, etc., for 1908, amounted to £47,048,773. The
raw material consumed was worth £25,223,681. The
motive power employed in these factories was equivalent
to 105,575 horse-power, and the number of workers
employed was 118,315. Of the owners, 14*8 per cent,
were of Argentine nationality.

If we compare these figures with those of the municipal
census of 1904, we obtain the following results: —



Number of factories and workshops

Capital employed

Sales

Motive power consumed (h.p.)

Workmen employed

Raw material consumed
Masters or owners of Argentine \ V - ^o 14-81

nationality (per cent.) ... ... j

We see that even in four years there has been a remark-
able development of the industries of Buenos Ayres. This
development is especially demonstrated by the increase of



Census of 1904.


Census of 1908.


8,897


10,349


£8,733,127


£23,443,144 „


£16,143,832


£47,048,773 .,


19,458


1'05,57<'. ■


()8,512


118,315





£2,">,223,681



MINES, ELECTRICAL AND OTHER INDUSTRIES 259

the capital represented by the sales of merchandise or manu-
factured articles and by the horse-power employed. At the
end of four years the capital has increased by nearly 300
per cent., the sales by the same amount, and over five times
the motive power is employed.

This progress is certainly remarkable, but it does not
perhaps truly represent the actual progress achieved. The
Director of the Census, Seuor Ricardo Pillado, declares that
"the general opinion prevalent in the offices of the census
department is that certain important items of information,
relating to matters of great interest, have been concealed by
interested persons. Among such we may cite the value of
output, the amounts of sales, the capital employed, the
number of employes, etc. ; as the manufacturers are anxious,
above all, to shelter themselves from a possible increase of
taxation or licences." So that in spite of the satisfactory
results of the last census, in spite of the notable increase of
wealth and industry recorded, the figures given are far from
representing the true significance of the industries of the
capital city.

The results already given may be classified as follows,
under the headings of the kind of industry, capital employed,
value of produce, motive power, and employes engaged: —







Value


Number of


Motive


Industries.


Capital.


of


Hands


Power






Production.


Employed.


(H.P.).


'ias lighting, electric lighting.


- £6,712,470
3,873,380








lighting installations, and

lant


£2,227,376


4,754


66,392


nentary products


10,520,532


14,227


11,756


thing and toilette


3,2.56,512


9,156,774


37,259


2,586


von fabrics, leather and furs


1,967,672


.5,084,053


10,861


5,461


•.al work, etc.


1,598,722


2,916,793


10,090


4,311


.raphic arts, paper


1,489,525


2,178,294


8,296


2,758


Woodwork, cabinet-making, etc.


1,461,103


4,330,954


11,730


5,570


Tobacco factories


605,487


2,249,836


2,829


539


Chemical products


432,160


754,207


1,774


1,231


Building


408,056


1,097,219


4,415


719


Art products, ornaments, etc.


301,244


729,903


2,199


367


Various industries


1,364,881
£23,421,318


5,779,208


9,875
118,315


3,895


Totals


£47,032,146


105,57



The establishment of large electric works which furnish
current at very moderate rates, as well as the advantages of



260 THE ARGENTINE IN THE 20th CENTURY

electro-motors as compared with steam-engines, have led a
number of industries to adopt new systems of motive-power. |
Of a total of 105,575 horse-power, 12,505 are furnished by i
electricity, 90,655 by steam, 1939 by gas, and 476 by ;
naphtha. |

Among those industries which are still in a state ofll
infancy we must mention the chemical industry; this is |
limited to a few candle and soap factories, sulphuric and |
nitric-acid works, scent distilleries, dye factories, etc., whose |
produce is insufficient to the needs of the country. ■

The match factories, on the other hand, furnish a good >
article and are sufficient to the country. The consumption j
at present exceeds 200 million boxes per annum.

We must also mention the existence of a few paper-mills, i
glass furnaces, and various works where certain agricultural *
necessities are produced : such as iron wire, fencing, etc., and J
also certain wheel factories ; but here again importation :
furnishes a great proportion of the articles consumed. ;



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CHAPTER IV

BANKS. THE BOURSE OR STOCK EXCHANGE, AND
LIMITED COMPANIES

Banks — International character of Argentine banking — Evolution of banking
machinery — List of the principal banks, with amount of capital and
business done — Conditions peculiar to Argentine banking ; the lack of
moveable reserves — Rates of interest on account, on deposit, and on
advances — Statistics of the deposit accounts of the principal banks —
Exchange operations : their decrease since the determination of a fixed



Online LibraryAlberto B MartínezThe Argentine in the twentieth century [microform] → online text (page 22 of 33)