United States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

Consular reports, Issues 224-227 online

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remarkable things on the coast. It is no uncommon thing for a
little steamer to come into port with an immense cargo, caught in



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MINERAL PRODUCTION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.



703



a few hours. Last month, an American steamer passed this point
on her way to Tacoma with 133,000 pounds of halibut caught off
Hackett Narrows, on the Alaskan coast, in three and a half days
by eighteen men, with hooks and lines, using nine dories. This
cargo, worth at the lowest estimate 3 cents per pound, foots up
$3,960. They report that the water seems almost alive with halibut.

BRITISH NAVAL STATION.

The naval station at Esquimalt on this island, 3 miles west of
Victoria, is the scene of a great deal of activity just now, the Ad-
miralty having in course of construction a number of buildings and
other improvements to the station. A large brick jail is being
erected, 33 by 65 feet, two stories high, with walls of more than
ordinary thickness. A storehouse of great capacity is also nearing
completion. The Admiralty is constructing a wall 12 feet in height
from the entrance to the naval dockyard across to the water, com-
pletely inclosing the point.

If the opinions of military men are to be relied upon, the force
will be steadily augmented until the station assumes the proportions
of a great naval depot, with large supplies of munitions of war. In
addition to the engineers and garrison, it is expected that a battalion
of infantry will, in two or three years, be stationed here. Quick-
firing batteries are now in course of construction on three sides of
the harbor, which will be mounted as soon as the guns arrive.

Abraham E. Smith,

Victoria, April ^p, iSp^. Consul,



MINERAL PRODUCTION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.

Under date of May 10, 1899, Consul Smith, of Victoria, sends
the following ofl&cial tables, showing the production of the various
mines of British Columbia during last year and the preceding years
of this decade:

Total production for all years up to and including i8g8.



Articles.


Value.


Articles.


Value.


Gold:


159,960,819
6,501,906
9,676,901
4,049,199
ii395.84i


Coal and coke


$40,306,160


Placer


Building' stone, briclcs, etc


I^ode


Other metals


26,500


Silver


ToUl




>23.4X7,326


Lead...












-




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30Qle



704 MINERAL PRODUCTION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.

Amount and valiu of mineral products for iSg^ and iSg8,



Articles.



Gold:

Placer .

Lode ...

Silver

Copper

Lead

Coil

Coke

Other



...ounces..

.do

do

..pounds..

do

tons..

do



Toul.



1897.



Quantity. Value.



25.676

106,141

5.472,97«

5,335,180

38.841,135

882,854

17.83a



l5«3.5«>

3,122,820

3,272.836

266,258

«. 390.517
3,648,562

89,155
151,600



10,455,268



1898.



i;^ntity. Value.



32.167

110,061

4,292,401

7.271,678

31.693.559

>,i35.865

35.000



1643,346
2,201,217
2,375.841
874.781
x.077,581

3.407,595
iTS.ooo



10,906,861



Yield of placer gold per year to date.



Yc^r.



1890
1 891
1892
1893
1894



Value.



$490,435
429,811
399.526
356, 13«
405, 5«6



Year.



X895..
1896..
1897..
1898..



Value.



$48«.683
544,<m6
5«3.Sao
643.346



Production of lode mines.



Year.



1887.
1888.
1889.
1890.
1891.
1892 .
1893-
1894-
1895.
1896.
1897.
1898.



Toul..



Gold.



$23,404

125,014

785,271

1,344,180

2,122,820

2,201,217



6,501,906



Silver.



$17,

75,

47

73

4

66,<

195

470,

977

2,100,

3.272

2,375



9,676,901



Lead.



$9,316

29,813

6.498

NU.

Nil.

33,064

78,996

169,875

532,255

721,384

»,390,5»7

«,o77,58i



4.049,«99



Copper. Total value.



$16,234
47,642
190,936
266,258
874,781



«, 395,841



$26,547

104,813

54,37*

73,948

4,000

99.999

997,400

781,342

2,34^.397

4,257,179

7,oS2,43t

6. 529.4*0



31,633,847



Coal.



Year.



1890
1891
189-r
1893
1894
1895
1896
1897
1898



Quantity.



Tons,
678,140

1,029,097
826,335
978,394

1,012,953
939,654
896,223
882,854

1,135,865



Value.



$2,034,430
3,087,391

2.479.005
2.934.88a
3,038,859
3,8x8,96a
2,688,666
3,648,562
3,407*595



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GOLD MINING IN ALASKA: NOTES FROM THE KLONDIKE. 705

Coke.



Year.



Quantity.



Value.



1895-96

1897

1898 (estimated).

Toul



Tons.
1.565
17.831
35.000



54,396



I7.825
89.155
i75,ocK>



271,980



Commercial Agent Shotts, of Sault Ste. Marie, under date of
May 10, 1899, also transmits figures substantially the same as those
above given showing the mineral product of British Columbia. He
adds:

The report shows that the output of gold from placer mines has
gradually decreased from $3,913,563 in 1863 10^643,346 in 1898.



GOLD MINING IN ALASKA: NOTES FROM THE

KLONDIKE.

The gold fields in the Territory of Alaska at Forty-Mile, Eagle
City, and Seventy-Mile districts are becoming more promising, and
bid fair to rival any territory yet discovered for placer gold mining.
The geological formation in the above-named districts is practically
the same as that adjacent to Dawson.

Sections of the Forty-Mile district have been difficult of access ;
but since the location of a mining camp at Eagle City, prospecting
parties having been sent out to examine the tributaries of Forty-
Mile River, and good paying ground has been discovered during the
past winter. Slade Creek, a tributary in the Eagle City district,
has recently been found to contain much gold, and no doubt many
other creeks will be found equally as rich. In the Forty-Mile
district, American Creek, Chicken Creek, and Stonehouse Creek con-
tain rich gold deposits, but the best in this district is Jack Wade
Creek, which, from all indications, will equal any yet found, even in
the Yukon district of Canada.

The gold belt of the Koyuk mining district, in the vicinity of
Union City and Peavy trading post, Alaska, is also found to be as
rich as Forty-Mile district, and more adapted to hydraulic mining.
Circle City was almost deserted at the time of these discoveries, the
miners stampeding across the country to the Koyuk, a long distance.
From Rampart City, the trip was only 200 miles and the trails were
in a good condition. The ground where gold has been found in the
No. 227 8.



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706 GOLD MINING IN ALASKA: NOTES FROM THE KLONDIKE.

Koyuk district is reported not so frozen as in the Klondike, and is
therefore easier to work.

It is surmised that Alaska will exceed the Canadian Yukon in
gold output in a few years, if properly developed. It covers more
gold-bearing territory and the gold so far discovered is evenly dis-
tributed, not being in pockets, as is the case on many creeks in the
Klondike district, where one claim may be rich and the adjoining
one worthless.

The miners in United States territory have different regulations
for each district — for instance, on American Creek the piiner is
allowed a 1,320-foot claim as per United States statutes; while on
Wolf Creek, adjacent, the miner is allowed only a 500-foot claim;
on Jack Wade Creek, 1,000 feet is the length allowed.

Staking by illegal powers of attorney is practiced. The recorder,
in order to get his fee of $2.50, records for anyone making a state-
ment. On Jack Wade Creek, many claims were staked by parties
who were sent from Dawson with illegal powers of attorney. The
miners held a meeting and declared that the staking by powers of
attorney not properly authenticated before a notary public or recog-
nized official was illegal. They afterwards declared the size of
claims to be 1,320 feet, instead of 1,000 feet as first determined.
At still another meeting, it was put on record that the powers of
attorney previously declared illegal were thereafter to be considered
legal.

It would be well if all the districts in Alaska could be governed
by a uniform law, as local regulations often change the size of claims,
etc. These conditions permit a miner to locate and record a claim
on all the creeks, which would appear to operate against the wel-
fare of the country. As it is now, if the owner of a claim is called
away to visit his home in the United States, his claim may be di-
vided during his absence by a miners* meeting.

With a United States land office at Circle City and one at Eagle
City to cover the territory from Fort Yukon to the Canadian frontier,
and another in the Koyuk district, conditions would be improved.

A sanitary inspector and a health officer have been appointed, and
Dawson City is to be drained. There has been an overstock of fresh
meat this winter — beef killed in the fall and kept frozen. Moose meat
has been brought in in large quantities by the Indians, which has helped
to keep the price of beef down. This month caribou meat has been
coming in, and a few mountain sheep. Otherwise, provisions have
remained at the high price prevailing all winter. Felt shoes are the
recognized foot wear for this country and Alaska, at least from Oc-
tober to April. They are warmer and far superior to the old-
fashioned Indian moccasin. All that were brought in last year were



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GOLD MINING IN ALASKA: NOTES FROM THE KLONDIKE. 707

readily sold at $10 per pair. These shoes should not cost to manu-
facture more than $1.50 to $2 per pair.

The mail service leaving Dawson twice a month has been excel-
lent. The average time to Skagway is fifteen days; the trip was
made once in ten. The mail service coming into Dawson has been
wretched; on the ist of March, the mail of September, 1898, was
received. During the month, there has been such an accumulation
of mail that the post-office has been alternately closed for two days
to sort the mail, then opened for two days for distribution. A great
disappointment has been the utter failure to deliver second-class
matter. New York and Philadelphia papers came in for the first
time about a month ago and found a ready sale at $1.50 a copy.

The quickest route for persons coming into Alaskan territory for
prospecting at Forty-Mile, Eagle City, or Seventy-Mile is by the pass,
then by boat from Lake Bennet through Dawson. The bulk of
freight for Dawson will, of course, come up the Yukon. The upper
river from Dawson to head of navigation will be better supplied
with boats this year than last, and it is to be hoped freight rates
will be reduced. On the lower river, from St. Michaels to Dawson
City, the Alaska Exploration Company will have six river steamers
and five barges; the Empire Line, four river steamers, one steam
tug, and half a dozen barges; the Alaska Commercial Company,
eight river steamers, two others chartered, and eight barges; the
National Trading and Transportation Company, six river steamers;
the Columbia Navigation Company, two river steamers; the Seattle-
Yukon Transportation Company, three river steamers and three
barges — all of which have accommodations for both freight and pas-
sengers. Some of the new steamers are fitted up as luxuriously as
any river steamers in the United States. There are some fourteen
steamers frozen up in the Yukon, and it is feared that when the ice
breaks up, it will carry the boats with it. Some of the companies
will run small steamers with supplies up the Koyuk River, as many
people will remain in that section another winter.

The thawing machine has proved a great labor-saving device,
and is much more economical than the old method, burning far less
wood. The thawing machines so far consist of a boiler of, say, 10
horsepower, a small engine, and piping. There will be a demand for
all brought in.

Claims are cheap on the market to-day, owing to the scarcity of
money. A good many prefer loaning their money at 10 per cent a
month interest on good claims to buying the claims.

One is struck on visiting the miners* cabins for the first time by
the apparent lack of consideration for comfort. One finds a 12 by
14 or 14 by 16 cabin, with two bunks at the end facing the door,



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708 GOLD MINING IN ALASKA : NOTES FROM THE KLONDIKE,

built to accommodate two or three persons for sleeping, though
four, five, and six are often taken care of over night. The cooking
stove is in a corner near the door. There is no ventilator except a
small hole cut in the roof, as the door is usually closed. I have
seen outside of a cabin similar to the one just described, hundreds
of empty champagne bottles costing $20 a pint. The money might
have been spent in providing more habitable quarters.

J. C. McCooK,
Dawson City, March ji^ iSgp. Consul,



Under date of April 7, Consul McCook adds:

The outlook of the placer gold fields of the Klondike has not.
been better since gold was first discovered in the Yukon territory.
Already this winter, several new strikes have been made on creeks
that were supposed to be barren. Last winter, the only creeks
worked were Eldorado, Bonanza, and Hunker, and such a thing as
looking for gold on the hillsides or benches was never attempted
until last summer, after the snow had left the hillsides and moun-
tain tops. The creek claims being all located, miners began to
locate and prospect the hillsides and benches, with phenomenal suc-
cess, many proving even richer than the creek claims. The most
noted of these benches are those of Skookum Hill, adjoining
Skookum Gulch ; Gold Hill, opposite the mouth of Eldorado Creek ;
and French Hill, on the left bank of French Gulch ; while, judging
from the latest developments, the benches on Dominion, Hunker,
and Quartz will prove equally as rich. Recently, strikes have been
made on the benches of Last Chance, a tributary of Hunker Creek.

The creek claims that have come into prominence this season are
those of Sulphur, Dominion, and Gold Run, all tributaries of Indian
River. The first-named creek promises to rival Eldorado. The
formation of the bed rock is the same as Dominion Creek, but is
nearer the surface. The pay streak on Sulphur has been found to
be 125 feet in width at different points on the creek. Dominion
Creek property is booming, pay having been struck on the benches
on both sides. Gold Run Creek is parallel with Dominion and
Suphur, and has a formation similar to the latter. Claims on this
creek were sold last summer for i and 2 ounces, or $32, while now
they range in value from $20,000 to $50,000.

Other developments have occurred in the Stewart River district,
the latest being Thistle, Scroggie, Tulare, and Ballarat creeks. A
$90 nugget was taken out of Discovery claim this month.

The principal drawback is the crude way of mining the frozen
ground, as it is necessary to build fires to thaw it out and then wait



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TRADE OPENINGS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA. 709

till summer before it can be sluiced. This requires time. The
price of labor in this country is on an average $1 per hour and the
cost of living is exorbitant, every necessity of life costing at least
five times as much as in the outside world. In addition to all this
is the 10 per cent royalty, which must be paid to the Government on
the gross output. A claim in the Klondike must therefore be very
rich to yield a profit. However, with proper machinery, this coun-
try will probably prove to have the richest placer fields ever known.
Nor will the placer mines be the only source of revenue. There are
indications of fine leads of quartz, as well as extensive veins of coal,
which only need capital to develop.

On the Alaskan coast, between Cape Nome and Golofin Sound,
strikes have recently been made which prove that the gold belt is not
confined to the Klondike district or to the neighboring section of
Alaska. A conservative estimate of the gold output from the Yukon
territory this year is J520,ooo,ooo. Next year, I would not be sur-
prised to find the output double that amount.



TRADE OPENINGS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA.

Vancouver is the most important distributing point for mer-
chandise, machinery, and articles in general that are brought to this
province for use or consumption. While a very considerable portion
of the articles used in British Columbia is imported from the United
States, I believe that a much larger part could be secured to the
merchants and manufacturers on the southern side of the border if
their wares were pushed in this market with more energy than they
are at present.

If a number of merchants would combine together, secure a suit-
able place in this city, exhibit their samples, and take orders, a large
increase in the sale of American products would, I believe, result.
There should also be connected with the establishment two or three
traveling salesmen, to make frequent visits to all important points
in the Province, introducing the articles, quoting prices, soliciting
orders, and giving information relative to tariff duties, freights, etc.

Such an establishment could be maintained at a cost which
would fall very lightly on each contributor if a considerable number
of persons or firms united in the enterprise. There is a demand
here for —

(i) Food supplies of all kinds, embracing breadstuffs, groceries,
fruits, etc.

(2) Household, store, and office furniture, including desks, tables,
chairs, parlor and bedroom furniture, carpets, etc.



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7IO TRADE OPENINGS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA.

(3) Hardware, consisting of shelf hardware, builders' hardware,
hand tools, nails, bolts, screws, stoves, tinware, and all that goes
with such lines.

(4) Machinery for mining and milling purposes, for use in con-
struction of sawmills, canneries, pulp and paper mills, etc.

(5) Glass and glassware, including plate glass, mirrors, table
glassware, show cases, lamps, etc.

(6) Electrical apparatus for street cars, motors, lights, etc.

(7) Instruments for use of surgeons, assayers, prospectors, sur-
veyors, etc.

(8) Explosives, for use in mining, etc.

(9) Opticians' wares.

(10) Hydraulic mining machinery.

(11) Ship chandlery.

(12) Bicycles, typewriters, etc.

(13) Stationery.

(14) Paper for printing, newspaper, book, and correspondence.

(15) Printers* supplies.

(16) Tin plate is used in very large quantities for making cans
for salmon.

(17) Clothing and boots and shoes.

I have mentioned paper and pulp mill supplies. There are at
present no such mills in this province, but material for the use of
such mills is abundant. The demand for paper of all kinds is con-
siderable, and there seems to be a good opening for some enterpris-
ing ** Yankee" to establish these mills.

I have received more than one hundred catalogues from manu-
facturers in the United States. These catalogues cover a very wide
range of production. They are kept on file in this consulate, open
to the inspection of all persons interested. Their influence, how-
ever, would be much more satisfactory if an energetic salesman
could circulate among the business men explaining and quoting
prices, etc.

I shall be glad to receive inquiries from interested persons re-
garding the subject of this article and shall esteem it a privilege, as
well as a duty, to aid any who desire to enter upon such an enter-
prise as I have suggested.

L. Edwin Dudley,

Vancouver, May 16, i8gg. Consul.



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IRRIGATION IN MEXICO. 7 II



IRRIGATION IN MEXICO.

Public lands, private properties, big haciendas, and large bodies
of wild lands held by private individuals or syndicates in Mexico are
rapidly changing hands at prices far in advance of those of last year,
and certainly 500 per cent above those demanded four years ago.
This advance is warranted by the production of the soil in the south-
em States, where the annual rainfall is sufficient to guarantee two
crops of cereals per annum, and where rubber, vanilla, cocoa, coffee,
plantains, pineapples, oranges, and other valuable tropical and semi-
tropical products are cultivated. But Mexico is not all tropical nor
semitropical, and the above remarks are only applicable to those
lands in the south, which do not exceed one-fifth of the area of this
Republic.

From statistics obtained in the City of Mexico, it appears that
nine-tenths of the transfers of lands made during the past year have
been for lands situated within 150 miles north and south of the rail-
road running across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. As the territory
embracing the richest portions of these tropical lands is somewhat
limited and is now almost all controlled by investment and improve-
ment companies, it is safe to suppose that investors will pay more
attention in the future to the more northern States, which contain
many millions of acres of the richest soil and which are situated in
a climate more congenial to the American or European settler. Vast
areas of land in the States north of the City of Mexico are now lying
uncultivated, unimproved, unused, and consequently almost unin-
habited. This is caused by the scarcity and uncertainty of the rain-
fall, and yet it is quite possible by capital and engineering skill to
change the greater portion of this desert into a garden.

With but few exceptions, irrigation appears to be practiced to-
day in the most primitive fashion, but the topographical and geo-
logical formation of a great portion of the country is especially
suitable for the successful operation of modern systems, and by con-
structing reservoirs to store the rain water, dams, gravitation canals,
pumping, sinking artesian wells, etc., enormous areas of magnificent
soil are susceptible of development. The value of irrigation in this
country has been confirmed by the experience of the Laguna dis-
trict in the State of Chihuahua, which has the largest area in one
State producing cotton ; but this example has as yet been followed
by but few large landowners.

Several important undertakings, which will undoubtedly be of



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712 IRRIGATION IN MEXICO.

great benefit to this country, are now under contemplation. In one
place, plans were submitted and estimates completed at considerable
cost as far back as 1894. The locality referred to is situated in the
north of the State of Tamaulipas, in this consular district, between
the city of Camargo and the town of Reymosa.

It is proposed to erect a dam across the San Juan River some 1 2
miles above Camargo and conserve three-fourths of the water of that
river. The canal is designed to embrace about 200,000 acres of
the land between the foothills and the banks of the Rio Grande. This
land to-day is almost worthless and scarcely suitable for goat pas-
ture. The soil, however, is the finest alluvial and is from 30 to 40
feet in depth. On the banks of the Rio Grande in this vicinity are
several small farms, the owners of which are lifting the water from
the river and irrigating a few acres. Magnificent results have been
obtained in the growth of cane, corn, cotton, and vegetables; and
one may conclude that with the realization of this project enough
cotton could be grown to supply the amount required by the Mex-
ican cotton mills, which are now importing the raw material from
the United States. '^

One fact especially noteworthy in the construction of irrigation
works in this country is that the expenses are paid in silver, and that
building stone, cement, lime, sand, gravel, earthwork, and labor are
exceedingly cheap in most of the States. Often, a water supply
can be provided at a charge to the landowner not exceeding $10
Mexican ($4.72 gold)* per acre for the prime cost of a water right,
and an annual rental may be contracted for at $1 Mexican per acre.
At present, foreign investors seem to be interested only in tropical
land, which costs from $6 to $12 gold per acre and about the same
amount to clear before anything can be g^own on it; while in the
northern States, there is a large quantity of desirable lands that can
be bought at from $2 to $$ Mexican (94 cents to $2.36) per acre, and
where the cost of irrigation, either by gravitation from the rivers
or by pumping, if properly managed, would be comparatively small.
The lands, when irrigated, would realize handsomely, returning
possibly not less than 20 per cent to the investor if planted in cot-
ton, cane, corn, beans, beets, or other products suited to the climate.
Probably, the most important consideration in such an undertaking
is the employment of a competent engineer. I have been informed
that a great many of the large irrigation works have failed because
of lack in this regard.

The arid States of Mexico have many natural resources; no great



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 224-227 → online text (page 83 of 92)