The leading Indian mines of the Colar Gold-field, Mysore, are amongst the soundest mining investments. For a considerable number of years past they have paid very large and regular dividends, and so far from these being intermittent and uncertain, like those of so many other mining companies, they have been improved upon year by year; and as far as it is possible to forecast their futures these dividends will not only be maintained for many years to come, but in all likelihood be appreciably increased. One thing is greatly in their favour. The management of them may not be perfection, and there may be room for some slight improvement here and there; but, at any rate, it is sound and honest, and shareholders need have no anxiety whatever that their interests will be thoroughly conserved. I only wish that all mines were as soundly and, above all, as honestly managed. It would be a grand thing for the mining industry as a whole, and we should be appalled less frequently by those scandals which so often disgrace company administration. Here we can see what is possible. There is no reason why the example should not be generally followed. The shareholders are never allowed to be in the dark. They can never complain of the paucity of information given to them, and whether the news be good or bad it is sent to them without delay before others have an opportunity to benefit from it. Unfortunately, every mine in the Colar Field will not be a success. Some will be as risky speculations as others are sound investments, but that is no fault of the directors or of the managers, the eminent firm of mining engineers, Messrs. John Taylor and Sons. It is the fault of the field, and therefore we should find out which are the sound concerns and which are the unsound and doubtful.
The Colar Field has proved itself to be a patchy one. The payable gold invariably occurs in shoots, and is apt to give out unexpectedly and suddenly. These shoots are to be found near to the surface as well as in depth, and there is no knowing, therefore, what good or bad fortune a mine may have in store for it. There are several parallel veins on the field, of which the best known are the Champion lode, the West Balaghat lode, and the Oriental lode. But it is on the Champion lode alone that the paying mines have been worked, and these mines are the Mysore, the Champion Reef, the Ooregum, the Nundydroog, the Coromandel, and the Balaghat. The Champion Reef up to the present has run a fairly steady and uniform course through the Mysore, Champion Reef, and Ooregum properties, but north of the latter it has shown disturbances, which are either due to the faulting or to the separation of the vein into several parallel branches. The Nundydroog works two sections of the lode - that is, the Champion lode, which extends from the south boundary to about halfway through the property, where it dies away to small stringers; and Kennedy's lode, which is about 300 feet to the east and worked only in the northern section of the property. In the Coromandel there are developments on two lodes, separated by about 500 feet, that worked in the southern portion of the property being supposed to be the continuation of Kennedy's lode, and that in the northern portion the continuation of the Champion lode. In the Balaghat Kennedy's lode, although traceable at the surface, has not been opened, the main developments being on the Coromandel or Champion lode. North of the Balaghat none of the offshoots of the Champion lode have as yet been proved payable, although trial pits have been sunk to test them on the Road Block property, but that company and also the Nine Reefs are at present devoting themselves to an extensive trial of the more westerly veins - the Oriental and the West Balaghat. South of the Mysore the Champion lode is ill-defined and broken, and although considerable prospecting work has been done by the Kempinkote, Mysore Reefs, and Yerra-konda companies to locate a payable section on the southern extension of the lode, no favourable discoveries have as yet been made.
The leading mine is the Mysore, which may be included amongst the great gold-mines of the world. It has had, however, a somewhat chequered career, and in its early days it was seriously questioned whether it was worth while to spend more money on its development. It was practically condemned as a worthless mine, but the shareholders were encouraged to persevere and to develop the mine at depth, with the result that they have been most handsomely rewarded for their pluck, for, as I say, it has proved to be one of the finest mining investments in the world. The mine is situated on the central section of the Champion lode, but, as in the case of other mines on the field, the rich ore is found only in shoots. The workings on the principal shoot have gone deeper than in any other Indian mine, and the prospects look assured for several years to come. From present indications the future seems to depend mainly on three shoots - Crocker's, Ribblesdale's, and Rowse's - and all these shoots have hitherto been found to be exceedingly rich. A dyke, about 80 feet thick, divides one section of the mine from the other. Above the dyke is Crocker's shoot, and below is Ribblesdale's, and the question for the future to decide is whether Crocker's shoot will live below the dyke, and whether Ribblesdale's shoot will maintain its value with depth. In the annual report issued last March the directors said there had been indications of an improvement in the value of the Champion reef at the deepest levels from Ribblesdale's shaft, and since the date of the superintendent's report a development, which may prove of the utmost importance to the company, had occurred in driving the 2,320 feet level north of that shaft. They went on to say that full particulars as to the prospects at this point had not been received, but that it was apparent from the recent advices of Mr. Hancock that the appearance of the lode there had impressed him favourably. The report for the month of June stated that this level had been driven 46 feet, making a total distance driven of 282 feet 6 inches, the lode being only 1 foot wide, and assaying 4 dwt. 13 gr. No. 1 winze in the bottom of the level had been sunk 36 feet 6 inches, making a total depth of 110 feet. The lode was 1 foot wide, assaying 11 dwt. 3 grs. It was suspended on the 30th of the month, the required depth having been reached. The end on the branch in this level had been driven 30 feet 6 inches, making a total distance driven of 51 feet 6 inches. The lode was 6 inches wide, assaying 3 dwt. 6 grs. There were stated to be promising developments at the 2,020 feet level south of Ribblesdale's, the ore here having been found to assay over 2 oz. to the ton. The report for June stated that after driving 531 feet the lode had pinched, it being 1 foot wide and assaying 1 oz. 15 dwt. 7 grs. In rise No. 1 the lode was 3 feet wide, and assaying 3 oz.