I suppose we ought not to trouble ourselves about the market price of shares, but it does seem extraordinary to me that with the prospects before us our shares should be standing at present at something like 25s. When you come to compare the present position of your property with the mining deposits, say, in West Africa, or in many other parts of the world where people invest money in mere prospects, and where the chances of a dividend are very problematical, it seems to me strange that our shares should stand so low in value on the market; but, as I said before, I do not think that that is a question which concerns us. I only say that it surprises us. I hope now I have made the position clear to you. I have heard it asked how it is that we did not pay a dividend out of our profits, even if only a small one. Well, I hope I have explained the reason to you. We are aiming at the payment of much larger dividends than 6d. or 1s. at a time. We are anxious to open up your property in such a way that we shall have the deposits all ready to treat in the new mill when it is erected, and, considering that no difficulty can arise in the erection of the mill, because it is being put up by people who are quite able to carry out their engagements. I hope you will give us credit for having looked after your interests in a proper manner by laying out your property in such a way that it will bring you large returns in the not very distant future. (Hear, hear.) I think it is my duty to publicly recognise the valuable assistance we have received from our representatives in Western Australia, and especially from Mr. Harold Baker, who holds your power of attorney. We owe it to the industry, integrity and intelligence of Mr. Baker that this property has been successfully developed. (Applause.) We are also very much indebted to our mine-manager, Mr. Hayes, who is a straightforward, intelligent and honest miner. (Applause.) You are likewise indebted to the whole of your staff in Western Australia and to the staff in London for their devotion to your interests. (Hear, hear.) We have endeavoured, as you will have seen, I think, from the accounts, to keep our expenses in London down to a very low point. The office expenses, after deducting the transfer fees and interest we have received, are only about £700 a year. I will now, if you will allow me, read a telegram which we have received this morning. It has reference to the Englishman lease, and is as follows: 'No. 3 level north - Width of lode, 4 1/2 feet, assaying, by bulk assay, 2 oz. 7 dwt. per ton. No. 3 level south - Width of lode, 5 1/2 feet, assaying, by bulk assay, 2 oz. 9 dwt. per ton. No. 4 level south - Width of lode, 8 feet, assaying, by bulk assay, 1 oz. 9 dwt. per ton. Depth of the main shaft is 510 feet; width of lode is 8 feet, assaying, by bulk assay, 2 oz. 19 dwt.per ton. Englishman and Altona Mines are looking splendid.' now move the adoption of the report and accounts, and I will ask Mr. Hoffmann to second the motion. As you know, Mr. Hoffmann was kind enough to go out to Australia and visit the mine, and, having had great experience in mining matters, no doubt he was able to judge of its merits, and will tell you exactly his opinion of the property which he has seen and I, unfortunately, have not. (Applause.)
Mr. E. J. Hoffmann, in seconding the motion, said: I had not the pleasure of being here at the last annual meeting, being in Western Australia, and at about this time last year on your mine. There I saw the very rich reefs which your chairman has described to you to-day. My experience in mining in some cases has been heartrending, when the reef has been rich, but so narrow that it has been impossible for the miner to wield his pick and stope out the ore. I had the honour of buying this mine. I bought it on the recommendation of my brother because the reefs seemed to go down in wedge fashion, with the business point of the wedge uppermost. The reefs at the top were about 2 feet or 2 feet 6 inches wide, and every 100 feet they went down they increased at least 1 foot, if not 2 feet, in width. When I was at the property they were only down 290 feet to 300 feet, so that they have gained about 240 feet since, which is a very good record for last year. Even when I was there the enormous bodies of white quartz was a very fine sight. There was no mistaking the white quartz against the black granite wall. It did not require an experienced miner to see which were the reefs and which were the walls of the reef. The quartz there is as white as snow, and they are beautifully laminated, and in many cases, where not a speck of gold could be seen by the aid of a microscope, the ore assayed 1 1/2 oz. to 2 oz. and over. We are not telling you of fabulously rich [reefs that are going to give 20 oz. or 30 oz. to the ton. You are going to have a steady-producing mine and a steady dividend-payer. I have been rather criticised in regard to a circular which I wrote, and which the board forwarded to you about the end of last year, when I returned from Western Australia, estimating your output to be rather larger than what the chairman has stated to-day. The reason for what I stated I will now take the liberty of explaining to you. I estimated our total output to come from the Englishman reef. There is no question that the Englishman reef could fully employ your fifty head of stamps without the aid of the rest of your property; but it has been pointed out by our managers, by our consulting engineers (Messrs. Bewick, Moreing and Co.), and by others, that it would be unwise to stope only that rich portion of our mine; that our wisest policy, with our large acreage, and with our six or seven reefs, is to try and average our ore so as to give a long life to our mine. It would obviously be the wrong policy to stope only from the richest portion. I maintain that, if the Englishman continue to give 2 oz. to 2 1/2 oz., as the telegrams received indicate, there is no earthly reason why the average should not be just as high as I stated, and then, instead of having £100,000 per annum, you will have £150,000 or £160,000 per annum when your 50-stamp mill gets to work.