Albert Frederick Calvert.

Nigeria and its tin fields online

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During three months of somewhat irregular
work last year we recovered 30 tons of black
tin from Nos. i and 2 streams. Part of this
was won by sluicing the alluvial banks, of which
2,736 cubic yards, worth 10 to n Ibs. of black
tin per yard, were worked. Operations were
commenced from the boundary, the ground was
worked fairly, and although superficially it only
represents some 300 square yards, it gives a fair
idea of the value of the bank deposits. The
values, of course, would not apply to the alluvial


apart from the streams, nor to that on No. 3
stream, where there is far less grade and more
alluvial, but, taken as a whole, the proposition is
decidedly the richest yet found in Nigeria. Until
further prospecting has been done and a detailed
survey carried out, it is impossible to give any
accurate estimate of the payable alluvial available
on this portion ; as a hand-work proposition it is
not of great extent (as will be gathered from my
report to the Niger Company last December,
a copy of which I attach), but as an area
systematically worked with the aid of machinery,
it is undoubtedly a property which should produce
a large tonnage of tin over a period of many

The above-mentioned report, also clearly sets
forth the difficulties in the way of systematic min-
ing, if it is to be regarded as a separate concern.
I have carefully considered the methods suggested
by Mr. Lush in his report. The first we have
already tried. The second is impracticable, be-
cause we have no higher level at which we could
conserve water for hydraulicing the whole of
the alluvial deposits, and the third and fourth
can only be considered in conjunction with one
or both of the other portions of the N'Gell



A modification of the second suggestion might
prove satisfactory as a temporary measure. It
would be possible to conserve in a reservoir con-
structed near the head of one of the streams
sufficient water to sluice by gravity I do not
think there would be pressure for hydraulicing
the alluvial in and near the main river and
part of that about the three streams. The ground
higher up the streams could not be worked by
this means.


This portion of the river flows through the
Niger Company's area, as shown on the plan
attached. The river, after leaving the town of
N'Gell, falls into a fine open valley within which
is an apparently deep basin filled in with loose
gravels heavily charged with water.

Four important streams numbered 3, 4, 5,
and 6, enter the river from the south, three of
them having falls in the position marked on
the plan.

In addition to the alluvial being washed down
the main stream, this basin must also be enriched
by the tin-bearing wash in the tributaries, which
also show good prospects.

The basin covers an area of roughly 300 acres,


not including the bank deposits on the streams
or the higher level flats. As would be expected
from the nature of the ground, the top gravels
do not carry payable values, but it seems to me
almost impossible for the bottom to be other
than rich when it is remembered that tin will
not travel far without easy outlet and good grades,
and that for a long period tin-bearing dirt has
been emptying itself into this basin from so many
channels. We have been unable to reach bottom
in ordinary trial pits owing to heavy water and
the running nature of the alluvial, and it will now
have to be tested by boring.

Even if it proves only a low-grade show, it
is obviously a big mine, and one that must be
worked by dredging or pumping methods. Pos-
sibly the three falls above mentioned would give
sufficient power, in which case the problem of
working the " A " deposits would be solved at the
same time. Otherwise it would be necessary to
acquire the Kwall Falls, and generate electric
power there.


I am not so familiar with this portion of the
river, but, generally speaking, it is of a similar
character to " B," and the same remarks apply,


but with this important exception, that it is down
stream and therefore farther away from the source
of the tin. I am not in a position to say whether
it is fed by other tin-bearing streams or rocks
further to the west.

As your Chairman very reasonably suggested,
there may be an obstruction in the shape of
rising bedrock or bars about Section 46, in which
case this portion may prove of little value. This
can only be disclosed by continuing the boring
operations, and I would here emphasise Mr.
Lush's opinion that the greatest care should be
exercised in taking samples from holes in these
loose gravels where boring has a tendency to
concentrate the heavier mineral at the bottom.


As some difficulty is anticipated in holding the
areas as they now stand after this year, I suggest
that they be dealt with as follows :

(A) The streams and alluvial deposits on this
portion are spread over some six square
miles of country, so that my previous
suggestion that the whole should be
taken up in one rectangular mining area
is not feasible. A mining area should


be acquired over Sections 49 and 50 as
under :

Commencing at the N'Gell Beacon,
thence 2 miles due west, thence I mile
due north, thence 2 miles due east, and
thence I mile due south to the starting
point, enclosing an area of 2 square

Mining licences over Nos. i, 2, and 3

streams should be renewed.

The above four mining areas will not include

all the alluvial mentioned in this report as existing

on this portion (A), but if the three streams are

held, the alluvial lying between them will be

safe from others, who would have no water for

working it. This is only intended to meet the

case temporarily, and until further surveys have

been made and the Mining Laws revised.

(B) Negotiations should be entered into with
the Niger Company to take over this
part of the river, or with a view to an
amalgamation of interests.

A mining licence should then be
obtained to commence at a beacon
10,343 f eet due west of the N'Gell
beacon, thence 2\ miles due west,
thence I mile due south, thence 2\


miles due east, thence I mile due north
to the starting point, enclosing an area
of 2^ square miles.

(c) I recommend that an exclusive prospecting
licence be applied for, identical with
Sections 36 to 40, enclosing an area
of five square miles. If a prospecting
licence is not allowed in any form, the
expense of holding this piece of land
under mining licences must be borne
until prospecting is completed.

There remains only the river flowing
through Sections 46 and 35. A rect-
angular prospecting area (or, if refused,
a mining area) -^ mile wide, east and
west, by about i^ miles long, north and
south, will be sufficient to hold this while
its examination is going on.
With regard to staff and the work for the
immediate future, a good surveyor and assistant
must be sent out whose chief duty, apart from the
demarcation of boundaries, would be the deter-
mination of grades in the rivers, measurement of
water, survey of falls, and the preparation of
sections showing the alluvial beds as disclosed by
the pits and bores. An experienced man to carry


out the boring operations should also be provided,
and the whole work placed in charge of a capable
hydraulic mining engineer.


It is above all things desirable to aim at work-
ing the whole of the deposits about this river as
one large power proposition, deriving the power
either from falls on the property or from Kwall.
Should it be found impossible to do this (from
failure to secure the land and falls required), then
it will have to be proved whether the deposits on
the six square miles of " A " portion justify the
expense of harnessing falls and conveying power
to the heads of the streams. If not, as much of
the alluvial as possible must be worked out by the
same system of sluicing as was employed last
year, but on an increased scale, and with a more
elaborate method of dealing with the water

I am of opinion that it will take a year with a
competent staff to prove the six miles of land
referred to in " A " portion.

(Signed) H. W. LAWS, M.I.M.M.
September, 1910.


December, 1909.

The Secretary ',



DEAR SIR, I beg to hand you herewith Sum-
mary of tin returns for the months of November
and December.

Tin Recovery. Work ceased on the I4th
instant owing to Mr. Carpenter's time being
completed, and his desire to return to England ;
otherwise sluicing on No. i stream could have
continued to the end of the year. Sluicing on
No. 2 stream was stopped early in November
owing to want of water.

The black tin recovered for November amounted
to 12 tons and 2 Ibs., and from December ist to
1 4th, 4 tons 14 cwts. 3 qrs. 12 Ibs., making a total
of 30 tons o cwts. i qr. 3 Ibs. for the three
months that mining operations have been carried
on, as shown on the summary.

The ground sluiced at No. i stream measures
approximately 2,736 cubic yards, worth 10 to
1 1 Ibs. of black tin per cubic yard.

In arriving at these figures, the tin taken from


the actual river bed, where it was impossible to
measure the ground sluiced, is excluded, and this
value will be found to be a fair average for the
alluvial bank deposits on the N'Gell areas.

I estimate there is sufficient of this to last for
six years on the two areas we have taken up,
but this does not include some fairly extensive
deposits between the three N'Gell streams and
outside our small mining leases, which we have
recently found to exist. We have not attempted
to develop these higher deposits, but wherever
tried they carry good values, and if by careful
selection we added them to the existing areas, the
proposition would become an important one as far
as quantity is concerned. The difficulty lies
in economical working. The present method,
although profitable, is unsatisfactory, at any rate
from an engineering point of view ; my experience
of the last three months has proved that sluicing
in a small way can only proceed between seasons
in the dry season only hand-work can be done,
and at the height of the rains the sluices cannot
be fixed low enough to receive the sluicing water.
It is essentially an elevating proposition, but
without power, fuel, or water, we are helpless.
I therefore recommend you, should an opportunity


occur, to give careful consideration to any amal-
gamation scheme which our neighbours on the
N'Gell River might think desirable after they
become familiar with their property, especially if
they decide to work on a large scale.

Should no opportunity of the kind occur, I
advise you to take the best out of the three
streams and their alluvial banks by our present
cheap sluicing methods and handwork during the
next six years or so. A good engineer and an
assistant would be required to supervise, but the
former would only be required at certain seasons
and not permanently on the property. I am
preparing a list of plant required to work economi-
cally on these lines on the three streams.

Export. The tin won was all first grade,
assaying 72 per cent, to 73 per cent. 644 bags,
weighing net 19 tons 9 cwts. 3 qrs. 7 Ibs., were
despatched in November, and 350 bags, weighing
net 10 tons 10 cwts. I qr. 24 Ibs., were
despatched this month, making a total of 30 tons
o cwts. i qr. 3 Ibs.

General. The plant has been properly laid up
and protected from the weather for the dry season,
and a watchman has been placed in charge.
I am, &c.,

(Signed) H. W. LAWS.


Since the preparation of the foregoing particulars
a report has been received from the company's
manager giving the first detailed particulars of the
prospecting as follows :

"Prospecting. With regard to this important
subject I expect to have a little more to say when
I have a general map ready to forward to you.
The shaft in Section 26 which you asked about
in your letter of 26th July was not got down to
bedrock on account of water, and there were no
results to report. In prospecting the streams of
the central and northern part of the 4O-mile area,
we found tin in many places in various quantities,
and irregularly distributed. Apparently the best
stream is that one which runs through Section 28 ;
while prospecting there we calabashed out five tons
very easily from the bed of the stream, which
tin we have in stock and shall report it to the
Government as soon as the mining lease is applied
for. The prospecting by numerous pits shows that
the ground is too irregular in values outside the
bed of the stream to make satisfactory estimates
until some sluicing is done, which will be a re-
latively easy matter when we have the mining
lease. There is another stream about three miles
further north which I think will warrant taking up,
but perhaps not quite so good as that in Section 28.


" In prospecting other streams of the northern
part of the 4<>mile area we generally found from
a trace of tin to say a pound or so per yard with
limited yardage, and none of them offer much
encouragement to the company for mining

"A part of the N'Gell River, in Sections 49 to
50, I think is suitable for taking up as a mining
lease. The tin, however, appears to be mostly
confined to the river bed, and therefore it is more
suitable for calabashing than for sluicing purposes.
Also the parts of streams Nos. i and 2, which are
in the prospecting area, should be included in the
areas applied for."

The manager further states, in regard to the
drilling operations which are being carried out on
the more remote and westerly portion of the
property, that the results hitherto obtained have
not been very encouraging, but that it is too early
to arrive at a definite conclusion in regard to
final results.

Cable advice has been received of the recovery
of ten tons of tin during the month of October.
The manager adds that the water is falling
rapidly; this should permit of calabashing on an
extended scale. The value of the tin already won
by intermittent working should realise nearly


.4,000, a sum in excess of the outlay in respect
of the surveying and prospecting on which the
small staff has been principally occupied.


Capital. ,60,000 in 240,000 shares of 55. each.

Directors. Assheton Leaver (Chairman), Cyril D'Arcy
Leaver, James Ramsay Parsons, Franklin Stokes Saunders,
Lewis Norman Way.

Secretary. Henry Thomas Miller.

Offices. Si. Bartholomew House, 58 West Smithfield,

This company owns two alluvial tin properties
of about one square mile each, and when the
company was formed they had a further option
for an area of about 1,920 acres, which option has
since been exercised, and the property referred
to in it floated as a subsidiary company called
the Jos Tin Area (Nigeria) Limited.

For the purpose of identification the two pro-
perties owned by the company were described
as Jos No. 2 and the Fusa property.

Mr. Malcolm has been appointed manager of
the properties, and on behalf of the company
has applied for and secured permission to take
up a further area on the Fefan River.

Mr. S. W. Carpenter, who was in the employ
of the Niger Company for five years, has been


appointed engineer. Mr. A. Higgins, who has
also joined this company, was formerly in the
Public Works Department of Nigeria, and has
been in the country for the past ten years. He
will make his headquarters at Lokoja, in which
place the company has contracted to acquire a
site and buildings to be used for trading, with
a steam launch and two barges on the river. In
connection with this trading and transport work,
the company have acquired properties in Nigeria
belonging to the firm of Messrs. Siegler & Co.,
and their place in Lokoja occupies the best river
site there.

This company promoted its first subsidiary
company in May 1910, and was called the Jos
Tin Area (Nigeria) Limited. The property was
a producing one.


Capital, ,200,000 in 400,000 los. shares, of which 300,000
are issued and fully paid.

Directors. Messrs. W. F. Turner (Chairman), Edmund
Davis, J. Schaar, and H. White.

Secretary. Mr. A. W. Berry.

Offices. 22 Austin Friars, E.G.

This company, in addition to having interests
in various West African and South African con-
cerns, is interested in the Nigerian Tin Fields, and


in addition to holding share interest in various
companies, they have a prospecting right over an
area of 50 square miles in the Bauchi district to
the west of the Naraguta area, and to the north
and adjoining the area of the Northern Nigeria
(Bauchi) Tin Mines, Limited.


Capital. ,110,000 in 440,000 shares of 55. each.

Directors. Assheton Leaver (Chairman), C. D'Arcy
Leaver, H. T. Miller, J. R. Parsons, F. S. Saunders, A. T.
Schmidt, L. N. Way.

Offices. 58 West Smithfield, E.G.

The company acquired from the Tin Areas of
Nigeria Limited, an area of 1,920 acres which
were originally held by the Niger Company. Mr.
Charles Scott has been engaged as mine manager,
and is now on the property, from which about
20 tons of black tin were won during May, June,
and July.

At the statutory meeting held on 22nd August,
the chairman said :

" I may say that I have had the pleasure on
two or three occasions of meeting Mr. H. W.
Laws, who was the chief mining engineer of the
Niger Company in Northern Nigeria, and is now
their consulting engineer here. He had for some


time the direction of the work on this particular
mine. In the course of friendly conversations
with him, he told me that he was of opinion that
our company should get back its capital, together
with interest commensurate with the risk run in
all mining enterprises. He also told me that he
considered the mine could go on producing in-
definitely anything up to 200 tons of tin per
annum, without any capital expenditure, but he
added that he thought that would be a very
wrong policy to pursue, and that the right thing
to do was to have, as we intend having, a
thorough survey made of the property, and then
come to a conclusion as to the best method of
working it. I think that it is very satisfactory to
hear this from Mr. Laws, because it points to the
fact that we have really got a sound property, and
one which, if properly managed, will prove to be
a sound speculative investment. It is a property
which must be regarded as a low-grade proposition.
Although, of course, it is more fascinating to have
a property which may be called a very rich
one, yet a large low-grade property is really far
more satisfactory from the shareholders' point of
view than a property which is simply rich in
patches, because with a large low-grade pro-
position it is a case of " cut and come again "


and as often as you like. There is always some-
thing to go away with. Mr. Lush, in a report
which he gave us at the time of the flotation of
this mine, estimated that we could reckon upon
having 500 acres containing 2 Ibs. of tin per
cubic yard, and if that estimate is realised and
I have no reason to anticipate that it will not
be realised and the profits are made that he
foreshadowed might be made, you have a very
handsome property, and one containing apparently
something over half a million sterling worth of tin."


Capital. ;2oo,ooo in i shares.

Directors. The Earl of Wharncliffe, Sir William Wallace,
K.C.M.G., William Scott Coutts, Samuel Watkin Carlton,
James Gardiner.

Secretary. Stanley Aldous.

Offices. 51 and 52 Fenchurch Street, E.G.

This company was formed to acquire and work
mining rights over a property known as the
Bisichi Valley Tin Area, comprising an area of
three square miles in extent, situated in the Bauchi
Tin Fields. It is located about 1 2 miles south-east
of Jos, at the head-waters of the river Gongola, on
the main transport route from Keffi to Naraguta.

Mr. Laws, the general mining manager of the
Niger Company, in his report, says :

" One of the most pleasing features of this


property is its constant supply of water for sluic-
ing and power purposes, and the ample head of
water given by the three falls for hydraulicing."

In the Bisichi Valley there is a large alluvial
deposit of light sandy material which is quite
free from clay, and is extremely friable, and
consequently capable of cheap and rapid concen-

Black oxide of tin occurs abundantly in the
river beds and adjacent alluvial flats, and is of
very good quality, there being practically no iron
or other impurity associated with it. The tin-
bearing alluvial is all on the surface, and varies
in depth from a few inches to some 20 feet in the
vicinity of the river.

Systematic tests of the alluvial by trial pits
were commenced this year, and up to the present
the great proportion of the alluvial of the river
Bisichi has been tested.

The tested ground averages 4 yards in depth,
and contains approximately 2,120,000 cubic yards
of payable alluvial wash. The latter varies in
value from traces to 129 Ibs. of black tin per
cubic yard, the average value being 7.27 Ibs. of
black tin per cubic yard. The total contents of
the tested portion therefore amounts to 6,800
tons, exclusive of the river bed deposits, which


the Niger Company's engineers estimate to contain
about 1,000 tons.

The nature of the river-bed wash does not lend
itself to accurate sampling, but Mr. Laws, judging
by actual returns from similar deposits on this
field, considers this estimate of 1,000 tons a
moderate one, and states that it may be taken
that some 7,800 tons of black tin (containing over
70 per cent, of pure metal) have been developed to
date. Taking the costs as estimated by Mr. Laws
at 45 per ton, the above tonnage contained
in the area already proved, shows an available
profit of over 350,000.

Payable tin-bearing alluvial exists on other
portions of the Bisichi Valley area, but as it has
not yet been measured or tested, no exact estimate
can be made of quantities and values. The ground
already tested represents about one-tenth of the
total area ; but the very high values and quantities
so far disclosed cannot be taken to apply to the
whole area, as it is natural that the course of the
main stream should carry better values and deeper
ground than the remainder of the land where
the alluvial would be more patchy and shallower.
It will be seen, however, that the estimated
working costs per ton have been placed by Mr.
Laws at a figure which will permit of lower


grade ground being worked than that already
referred to.

Mr. Laws advises the immediate erection of an
hydraulicing plant capable of dealing efficiently
with wash dirt sufficient to produce 800 tons of
black tin annually, an ample head of water being
available for this purpose throughout the year.

He also states that it would be quite possible
to commence work on the property immediately
by ground sluicing; but he is strongly of opinion
that this policy would be unwise, as the disturb-
ance of the ground might tend to interfere with
the economical working on a large scale such as
is proposed.

Provided no unforeseen difficulties arise, Mr.
Laws is of opinion that the whole of the plant
would be in operation within nine months.

If Mr. Laws' advice is taken, he estimates that
working cost would amount to about 10 per ton
on ore of the value already found, but, as stated
above, to allow for working a larger quantity of
lower grade ground, working costs should be
placed at 15 per ton of ore. The price of the
ore in the market at Liverpool may be taken at
90 per ton, which, after deducting 15 for
working costs, and 30 per ton for transport and


contingencies, would leave a margin of profit of
45 per ton of ore. Although it is proposed in
the earlier stages of development to equip the
mine with plant capable of producing 800 tons
annually, any increase on this rate of working

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Online LibraryAlbert Frederick CalvertNigeria and its tin fields → online text (page 7 of 11)