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already leased or reserved by Government notice,
or an exclusive licence to prospect within an area
not exceeding 16 square miles for a fee of $
per square mile. Mining leases are only granted
to holders of either one of these permits, who,
upon application, must show that bond fide pro-
specting operations have been carried on on the
area applied for, and that they possess or command
sufficient working capital to ensure the proper
development and working of the mine. Leases
of tin areas, which are granted for a term up to
twenty-one years, with the option to renew for
a further twenty-one years, are three in number,
viz., lode mining leases, which may be obtained
up to a maximum of thirty claims of 80,000
square feet per claim, at the rental of 4 per
claim per annum ; alluvial mining leases, not
exceeding 800 acres in area, with a mimimum
width throughout of 400 yards, at a rate of 55.
per acre per annum ; and stream mining leases,
which shall be confined to the bed of a stream,
not exceeding one mile in length, at a rental of
i per 100 yards per annum. Penalties in the


shape of fines or imprisonment are to be inflicted
for prospecting without a licence or working a mine
without a lease, for interfering with a prospector
in the exercise of his rights, for giving false in-
formation in an application for a mining lease, or
for " salting " a mine, and the Government reserve
the power to cancel a prospecting right or revoke
a mining lease for certain breaches of the new
regulations. Over and above the fees charged
for yearly rental of leases, the holder is by
statute required to pay a royalty of 5 per cent,
to the Niger Company on the value of all
metal won, and another royalty of 5 per cent,
to the Government, who collect their royalty in
the form of export duty.


A population estimated at seven to nine
millions is already on the land, and although their
labour would not be very efficient so far as
skilled work is concerned, there is plenty of rough
work to be done, for which about 6d. per day is
paid. The costs of treatment are not expected to
exceed 6d. per cubic yard. When it is re-
membered that it is possible for one property to
contain many hundreds of thousands of cubic


yards of alluvial wash, and that this alluvial
tinstone is worth approximately rod. per Ib. at
the present time, it will be realised that with the
working costs at the liberal figure of 6d. per cubic
yard, there is a very considerable margin of profit
in these undertakings.

Mr. J. Tomson says of the natives that they
make very good labourers : " They insist on
being paid with English money, ' threepenny bits '
being very popular. They have no liking for
gold, and do not consider it so valuable as silver.
The pagans, who are the farming class, appear to
be a most industrious people. They still live in
fear of invading Fulani, and always take their
bows and arrows with them to the field. Neither
men nor women wear dress of any kind. They
have a juju or secret oath which forbids them to
put on any garment. With these people the
missionaries make no headway at all. Neither
do they with the Mohammedans."

The manager of the Lucky Chance Mines,
reporting under date 2Qth August, said he
was still paying 6d. per day for ordinary
labour, and so far he had had little trouble
with the men on day wages, although they
had several times tried to get him to raise
the rate of pay.


Reporting on a property at Juga in the tin
district, Mr. Huddart says :

" The properties are very favourably situated
to obtain labour. The men from Bauchi and the
east come along the main caravan route looking
for work to enable them to earn money to pay
the taxes, &c. As this particular property is near
the market, and the men usually halt at the market,
they can easily be recruited. The cost of ordinary
labour is id. per hour, and is easily trained. The
Bornu and Eastern Kanuri are, in my opinion,
the best workers available. A further advantage
lies in the position of the property in settled
country under the control of the Filani Emir of
Bauchi, and the men prefer this to the pagan

Referring to another property about twenty
miles further south, Mr. Huddart says :

" When all is in proper working order, I am
convinced that ample labour will be forthcoming,
as the property is favourably situated in that it
can tap the Angass country and the western
part of Bornu, as well as the eastern Bauchi
territory. When the proper camps are made,
markets organised, and the natives learn that a
certain income awaits them, I feel sure that labour
will come in without any difficulty, and I speak


as one knowing their language and having an
intimate knowledge of the conditions."

Mr. H. W. Laws, General Mining Manager
of the Niger Company, in his report to the Bisichi
Company, whose property is near Naraguta, says :

" There is a good supply of labour in the
country ; owing to a sudden increase in the
demand for labour a temporary shortage was
reported this wet season, but the labour market
is now rapidly recovering, and in view of the
very large amount of labour available in the
Hausa States, and the Province of Bornu, no
difficulties need be anticipated as to the supply
in future."

The concensus of opinions held by men who
understand the amount and nature of the work
entailed in this particular form of mining, and
are, at the same time, personally familiar with
the material that the country has to offer for
the purpose, shows that the supply of labour
in Northern Nigeria is entirely adequate, and
although the development of West Africa depends
almost entirely upon the labour question, there
is no prospect of any difficulty on this account.
Mr. Astley Cooper believes the chief grounds
upon which trouble might arise, are the desire
of the majority of the natives not to do too much


work, the fear that a few months' work in the
mines would give a native sufficient money to live
on for a year or two, and the difficulty of getting
the right sort of European to take charge of the
native labourers. But after all there is little
reason to anticipate trouble on any one of these
counts. No native in any part of the globe does
more work ; than he is kindly but firmly obliged
to perform, and there is no necessity for em-
ployers to demoralise the native labourers by a
policy of over-payment. But the necessity of
employing the right sort of European to put in
control over the natives is quite to the point.
The West African is more domestic than the
Kaffir of whom there are over 200,000 at work
in the Transvaal mines and there is no more
willing worker if he has the proper white man
over him. But it is the duty of the Government
and the trading companies, and the mining corpo-
rations, to select the right men for their purpose,
and if they are wise in this respect there need
be no fear of labour troubles in either Southern
or Northern Nigeria.


The published opinions of Government officials,
engineers of repute, capitalists, traders, and travellers,


all tend to prove that in Northern Nigeria we
have one of the largest, if not the very largest,
of the tin-producing areas of the world. Other
minerals are known to exist, and very big develop-
ments may be looked for in the near future, as
the pioneering efforts of the Niger Company and
the Champion Gold Reefs of West Africa are being
followed by powerful financial houses, but alluvial
tin stands out, and will always stand out, as the
leading product of this remarkable mineral country.

Two such astute men and persons so well ac-
quainted with the country as Sir Walter Egerton,
the Governor of Southern Nigeria, and the late
Sir Alfred Jones, have expressed the strongest
views as to the extent and importance of these
tin deposits, and the acting Governor of Northern
Nigeria in his latest report asserted that " with
the introduction of more capital and a good means
of transport from the field to the railway a very
large development is anticipated."

Mr. Lush says the Bauchi tin deposits are
richer than he has seen in any part of the world.
It is, he says, a granite country, and although the
existence of reefs has been proved in one part of
the district, the alluvial deposits which yield tin
oxide containing about 72 per cent, of metallic
tin are of principal importance.



Alluvial mining, has, of course, the dement of
being short-lived. There is no great depth in
the deposits, and especially if they are worked
economically that is to say rapidly they are
exhausted in a comparatively short time. But
the attention directed .to the district in these
alluvial workings will certainly lead to the dis-
covery and opening-up of the tin lodes, which in
course of time should prove a more lasting source
of supply than the alluvials. Indeed, at two
points, two tin lodes are already being opened up,
and before long a good idea should be obtained
of their value. The interests at work in the
district will certainly see that every chance is
given to this side of the business, but, of course,
development upon a lode is very different work to
that upon alluvial deposits, and progress may be
slower in their case. It is very unlikely, with
such an enormous area of stanniferous gravels,
that lodes of importance should not be discovered
as time goes on, and there appears to be no doubt
that the tin production of Nigeria will become
quite a factor in the markets of the world. Many
things will have to happen before lode producing
can be carried out upon a large scale, but as the


alluvials are worked out, the labour employed
upon them can be concentrated upon the most
lasting deposits, and the operations of the alluvial
miners should produce a working population which
should be fitted to deal with the higher form of
mining. Certain facilities will doubtless be given
to the district, and some idea of the importance
and the developments in this part of Nigeria can
be gathered from the fact that the Bank of British
West Africa has been earnestly invited to open
an office in Bauchi. At present this matter is
under consideration, since it is difficult to fix upon
a spot which will be most suitable for such an
institution to work, but before long it is probable
that the tin-mining district will have the facilities
offered by a bank.


Mr. Oliver Wethered, whose name is so well
known in connection with the tin industry, has
described to a meeting of shareholders the peculiar
advantages of the country which is now attracting
the attention of the tin markets of the world, and
in the course of his address he said :

" Now as to the country in which our interests
are centred, judging by the information that I


have received from all available quarters, I have
no hesitation in stating that we are interested in
one of the most important virgin alluvial tin fields
the world has ever seen, and certainly the most
important that capitalists have had an oppor-
tunity of working as a new field. In Tasmania,
Australia, and other countries which have pro-
duced large quantities of alluvial tin, the pro-
spectors have gone in by hundreds, and even
thousands, and have washed out large quantities
of tin greatly to their own individual benefit.
Subsequently the ground has been worked over
and over again, and in recent years again re-
worked by means of modern appliances. I may
say here, that in Cornwall some of the ground
must have been worked eight or ten times, and
big plants are now being erected for the purpose
of working it again by modern methods. It will
be obvious to every one that with a practically
untouched field, and working in the most econo-
mical and thorough way from the start, the results
cannot fail to be extremely satisfactory.

" Undoubtedly one of the factors which has
delayed the opening up of the tin fields of Nigeria
has been the question of economical transport.
But the Nigeria tin is of very high quality. It
fetches, as a rule, anywhere from 6 to S


more a ton than Cornish tin, and in this connection
I should like to read an extract from a letter
which was written to me by the managing director
of the largest tin smelting works in Europe, to
whom I sent a sample of the tin oxide as it was
received here, and of which, in acknowledging it,
he says, 'It is about 75 per cent, metallic tin, of
excellent quality, equal to anything being put on
the market, so far as my observation goes.' I am
very closely connected with Cornish mining, and
there we get Bolivian, Straits, and all kinds of
tin, and it is the general opinion that Nigerian
tin is one of the very best tins imported into
Europe, and will always command a price equal
to, if not better than, that of the Straits. Even
under existing conditions alluvial tin mining in
Nigeria is a highly profitable business, but when
the present railway system is completed, and the
road made from the Government line to the tin
field, the freight should be reduced by many
pounds per ton, and the profit largely increased.
The completion of the road would enable heavy
machinery to be brought to the mines, when
larger quantities of the rich alluvial ground
would be handled in an economical way, and
the work done at a cost much below what is
possible under existing conditions. The lodes,


too, of which there is undoubted evidence, could
be worked. Meanwhile some machinery can be
transported in sections, and the output of tin
should be rapidly increased and the costs greatly

Mr. Assheton Lever ; in summing up the
situation generally in Northern Nigeria to a
meeting of shareholders, said :

" We know that there are considerable areas
there which in some cases are very rich in
alluvial tin. There are also tin lodes there ;
but that for the present is another story, because
alluvial tin is a thing which is easily and com-
paratively inexpensively worked, whereas to work
a lode mine requires good means of transport,
and to be able to get up to the mines easily
expensive and heavy machinery. We have a
good climate, we have a sufficiency of water,
and so far as we can ascertain, we have
a sufficiency of native labour. All the com-
panies which are interested in Northern
Nigeria appear anxious to co-operate, and are
willing to work together generally for their
mutual benefit, and for the tin industry in

Mr. H. W. Lake, the consulting engineer,
speaking in a professional capacity at the same


meeting, referred to the phenomenal richness of
the river banks in the tin district in Northern
Nigeria, while very rich alluvials are found on
the flats, and when it comes to investigation
of the river banks themselves very much larger
quantities of black tin to the cubic yard are won.
" I am speaking now," he added, " from a certain
amount of experience, because four years ago
we had an expedition in the Bauchi district, and
our engineer obtained some quite remarkable
results from the alluvial. Of course, it is a
new country. There is a great deal of pioneer-
ing work to be done, and what we have still to
look forward to is steady systematic organisation
for the next year or two. We do not want to
make the mistakes that have been made in the
opening up of many new countries some of
them not very far from Nigeria but we do want
to settle down to steady systematic develop-
ment. As far as the railway is concerned, there
seems no doubt that we shall have a line into
the tin fields, which is going to simplify the
question of transport, and reduce the costs very
materially. With regard to the actual working
of these alluvials, to begin with, I am of
opinion that we should use the simplest methods
possible ground sluicing and so forth, but there


will come a time when we shall have very
seriously to consider the question of hydraulicing
and treating these alluvials on a very much
larger scale than would be possible by means of


The extraordinary results obtained by the
Naraguta Company might be regarded as excep-
tional, since it was a proved mine when taken
over from the Niger Company, and the actual
work done upon it has only confirmed what was
previously known of its phenomenal value. But
it may be said with great confidence, after careful
examination, by not one, but many engineers,
that the picture is not in any degree overdrawn.
Moreover, the head of a great firm of mining
engineers who was inclined to ridicule the values
reported, has since admitted that he has alto-
gether changed his opinion, and that he thinks
from advices he has received, that the Malay
Peninsula fields, even in their palmiest days,
were never " in it " with the Northern Nigerian
alluvial tin fields. In one place tin has been
taken out, on the Dubbo property, belonging to
the Lucky Chance Mines, extending over 640


acres, which actually goes 120 Ibs. to the cubic
yard. That is to say, that the calabashers must
be getting out tin almost pure. This may be
only a pocket ; but the whole character of the
reports from the fields makes it perfectly certain
that the general nature of the Bauchi district,
where the alluvial tin is mostly found, is of an
absolutely phenomenal character.

There is no doubt whatever that in this remote
district of Nigeria, which until a few years ago,
was closed to the white man by the ferocity of
its inhabitants, nature has been concentrating tin
for thousands and tens of thousands of years,
until we have it now in very large quantities in
an almost pure condition. To Sir Percy Girouard
is largely due the honour of opening up this
country, through the discipline he and his sub-
ordinates dealt out to the original inhabitants.
To his successor, Sir Hesketh Bell, fell the duty
and the honour of opening up further the country
by a railway system which will make it a great
Imperial acquisition.

The work of Sir Percy Girouard and Sir
Hesketh Bell may be specially referred to, for
they represent the Imperial Government ; but we
must not forget the work of the directors of the
pioneer companies in London, who must have



worked continually to do what they have done.
In the short space of only twelve months they
have accomplished an amount of work which
ordinary directors without enthusiasm would
have taken years to do. The country has been
searched for good properties, engineers have been
despatched and machinery ordered, and such is
the good work done in a small way with high
values, that it is no exaggeration to say that
many properties are now paying their way. All
has been so swiftly done, and with so little fuss,
that it seems like a fairy tale, and the public have
no conception yet of the extraordinary value
of these alluvial tin propositions in Northern


It is satisfactory to gather from the report of
the acting Governor dated 1 1 th December last,
that the year 1909 was a very peaceful one, the
military operations which it was found necessary
to carry out being on a small scale, and chiefly
on account of highway robberies. From all the
Provinces it is reported that the general feeling


of the Emirs and native chiefs towards the British
Administration continues to be most friendly.
They are beginning to show an intelligent interest
and zeal in the political work, and political officers
are receiving support in any scheme proposed for
the improvement of the Native Administration.
The people show signs of wishing to be on
friendly terms with the Government, and the
agricultural classes are feeling a sense of security
which enables them to spread out in all directions
and take up new holdings. Their present posi-
tion is described as "one of progressive tran-
quillity and content." The inter-colonial traffic
in slaves has already ceased ; local slave-dealing
is not entirely stamped out, but it is not extensive,
and last year 1,392 slaves were freed, practically
all by means of native courts, the majority of
these ex-slaves being self-redeemed.

The cultivation of food stuffs has increased ;
new markets have been established, and the
present safety of the roads has greatly stimulated
the internal trade of the country. A great
improvement in the export trade has followed
the extension of the Baro-Kano Railway. To
the north of Minna there is a most extensive
area of shea butter trees, but very little of the


produce of this area has so far been placed on the
market, partly on account of the cost of transport,
and partly owing to the reluctance of the pagans
to have intercourse with markets outside their
districts. The construction of the railway has
done much towards gaining the confidence of
these people, and the reduction in the cost of
transport, consequent upon the completion of the
railway, will render it possible to place profitably
this sylvan produce on European markets.
Further north the railway will pass through the
rich agricultural and stock-raising Lausa pro-
vinces, which at present export live-stock, skins,
and potass by means of annual caravans. The
idea that Northern Nigeria is an especially
unhealthy place for European residents is scarcely
borne out by the total death-rate of roughly twenty
per thousand, calculated on the average resident
European population ; but the proportion of
officers invalided home is still large, though it is
much smaller than it was a few years ago, when
less satisfactory sanitary conditions prevailed at
the stations.

Although the addition of the Nigerian Protec-
torates to the Empire is primarily due to the pre-
science and enterprise of the Niger Company,


that corporation has no monopoly of trade within
their boundaries nor any special advantage over
other traders. It takes its chances against rival
firms in the many spots in which it comes into
competition with them. At Gana Gana, for
instance, the company's first station beyond
Burutu, the German firm of Bey & Zimmer has
a depot. John Holt & Co., E. H. Stern & Co.,
J. T. Palmer & Co., Pagenstecher, and the British
Cotton Growing Association are all represented
in Nigeria, and the firm of G. W. Christian & Co.
has established important trading stations at most
of the principal towns on the river. As recently
as 1904 Messrs. Christian started operations in
Nigeria at a small place named Proropro on the
left bank of the Niger ; to-day they have branches
at Forcados, Burutu, Onitsha, Illah, Illushi, Idah,
and Lokoja, and at all these centres they not only
conduct a large cash and barter trade, but under-
take equipments and accept commissions, and
cater in every way for the requirements of both
Europeans and natives. The extraordinarily
rapid rise and progress of this firm is almost
entirely due to the exceptional qualifications for
the trade possessed by the principal, Mr. George
William Christian, who was born in Liverpool in


1872, and who, from the early age of fifteen has
been associated with West Africa, and in twenty-
five years has acquired a thorough experience and
first-hand knowledge of the British and native
needs of the Protectorates.



Capital ^50,000, m 200,000 shares of 55. each ; all are
issued and fully paid.

Directors. S. R. Bastard (Chairman), F. N. Best, Sir
Horace C. Regnart, John Waddington.

Secretary. Newman Ogle.

Offices. Friars House, New Broad Street, E.G.

To this company belongs the credit of being one
of the first to appreciate the almost unlimited
opportunities the tin fields of Northern Nigeria
offer for the employment of British capital. It
is not surprising, therefore, that it has to-day,
not merely one finger, but the whole of its digits
in the Nigerian " pie," from which it has already
pulled out a " plum " in the shape of a dividend
of 100 per cent, paid in March last. It is not
always the pioneer in a new mining field who

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Online LibraryAlbert Frederick CalvertNigeria and its tin fields → online text (page 4 of 11)