The report of the directors of the Chicago-Gaika Development Company, Ltd., for 1900, to be presented to the meeting on the 22nd inst., states that the outlay on the property for the year amounted to £12,199. The total footage cut during the same period was 2,946 feet, which has all been completed on the Chicago-Gaika mine, and the grand total footage on the mine to date is 6,906 feet. The ore reserves at the end of December last amounted to 7,237 tons, of an average milling value of 2 oz. 10 dwt. per ton, besides which Mr. Currie reported on 10th April, 1901, that some 21,660 tons of payable ore on the surface had been measured up and sampled, making the total ore reserves on that date 28,897 tons, of an estimated average milling value of from 18 dwt. to 1 oz. per ton. Since that date, by latest advices, an additional amount of 17,000 tons of payable surface ore has been measured up and sampled, making the total ore reserves 45,897 tons. The development of the past year has conclusively proved the permanent character, both laterally and in depth, of very high grade ore bodies on some four distinct lines of reef. The property has been fully reported on by Mr. Currie, who strongly recommends the immediate formation of a subsidiary company for the purpose of erecting, to start with, a 15-stamp mill with as little delay as possible. The directors have this proposition now under consideration. As soon as the flotation of the Chicago-Gaika property has taken place, development will be commenced on some of the undeveloped claims with a view to their subsequent flotation.
The Chicago-Gaika is a very promising Rhode-sian company. The fact that it is situated in Rhodesia, instead of in an erratic district in Western Australia, should of itself make it more attractive to the speculator. During the war we know that mining work has been seriously interrupted, and that labour has been so scarce that some of the mines have had to close down. But we know that the war will be over sooner or later, and we know that the termination of it will be greatly to the benefit of the Rhodesian mining industry. That, again, should be sufficient to give rise to speculative activity in Rhodesians, and therefore this will mean an all-round appreciation in the shares.
From the above report we find that the mine has been developed to a considerable ex-tent, and that there is a large amount of ore reserves of more than average richness for a Rhodesian mine. Moreover, if there is no exaggeration in the statement that 'the development of the past year has conclusively proved the permanent character both laterally and in depth of very high-grade ore bodies on some four distinct lines of reef,' then it looks as if the shares will eventually advance above the price of 1 1/4, at which they at present stand; and therefore they have a good speculative value, with few risks attached to such a speculation. It is true that we learn nothing from this report as to the financial condition of the company, and we have to make the most of the little information there given. But that information is distinctly promising and encouraging, especially as the company will make profits on the flotation of subsidiary companies, and the favourable time for such flotations is approaching. It is possible, of course, that the company may turn out to be a good investment, but that cannot be judged from the report as published. That depends upon the results of further development work, and, as we shall evidently have to wait a considerable time for those results, speculation in the meantime would be more profitable than investment.
Thus, we have briefly looked at two reports from the point of view of the ordinary man, and find that, taking them on the whole, they are not of very great help to him, though in the majority of cases it is all the information he can get upon which to form his opinions. He will get more information in the reports of meetings; but even there chairmen are not fond of giving too many particulars, especially if vagueness of statement and profuseness of promise will serve them better. The majority like to charm the shareholders with empty eloquence, with generalities instead of particularities, especially when the latter would not be flattering to themselves nor pleasing to the shareholders. We may read such a speech, and be altogether carried away by the promises it holds out and the hopes it foreshadows, and be equally as charmed by it as the shareholders who listened to it. But such a speech should be more calmly criticised than any other, for it would be better to have a few sentences of solid, weighty fact than columns of meaningless words and phrases. The ordinary man, therefore, who does not understand the tricks and the subtle manoeuvres of the average chairman, is likely to be charmed by them as the syrens charm unwary travellers to their destruction, and he therefore needs advice from those who are more experienced than he. Let us take two short reports of company meetings, and see what the average man is likely to make of them, and I will again select, out of the same issue, a West Australian and a Rhodesian company: