Then the company is duly floated, the public take up the shares, and the vendor and promoter pocket their profits; it drags on for some years, no results are forthcoming, reconstruction follows reconstruction, the shares are quoted at a shilling or two, and it ends its inglorious career in voluntary liquidation. Or the directors turn their attention to another part of the world, to another new gold-field, and take up options on other worthless properties, caring only for their fees, and luring the shareholders on by the vaguest of hopes. These companies may be counted by the thousand, and the folly of investors will continually add to their numbers. The shares of such, therefore, cannot be recommended either to the speculator or investor.

Furthermore, the shareholders in mining companies, good, bad, and indifferent, should see that the directors engage as mine-managers the best of their class, and this should be insisted upon all the more earnestly because it is the duty which boards of directors deem it prudent, in their own personal interests, to neglect. Utterly incompetent men, men who may never have been down a gold mine, or any other mine, in their lives, have been appointed managers of mines because directors knew they could make these men their tools, make them write what reports they required, and develop the mine in such a way as would enable them the more easily and successfully to gamble in the shares. Such directors would dread to have an honest and able mine-manager, for he would certainly go his own way and do what he considered best in the interests of the mine and the shareholders, no matter what effect it might have upon the price of the shares, his duty being to make the mine pay dividends, and not to work it solely in the interests of gamblers and speculators.

If the mine is a very rich one, and is bound to be a great success, then, of course, the temptation to put an incompetent man in charge is not so great, for big dividends are sure to be earned, and therefore the price of the shares on the market is bound to go up. But sometimes an incompetent man - perhaps a relation or friend of one of the directors - is appointed manager, and he very soon succeeds in bringing disaster upon the mine, and perhaps in wrecking it, and, as this is by no means an infrequent experience, it must be guarded against. But it is at the worst mines where the incompetent manager is generally found, because he can be depended upon to write lying reports, instead of acquainting the shareholders with the real state of affairs, for his situation, at a good salary, is worth more to him than character and reputation.

It is obvious, of course, that unless there exist mutual confidence and harmonious co-operation between the board and their manager the failure of the enterprise is almost certainly foredoomed. There are two theories as to the class of men to whom the management of a mine should be entrusted, each of which has its ardent advocates, and the advantages and disadvantages of each are so nicely balanced that it is difficult to discriminate between them. According to one view, the manager of a mine need not have any technical knowledge of mining, but be, above all, a thorough man of business, a good administrator, and shrewd economist. He could always, then, get good men as his subordinates, to whom each particular department could be entrusted, and who would be responsible to their chief for its proper working. The opposition theory is that the manager should be first and foremost an experienced technologist, practically versed in mining and in all other operations that have to be carried out under his supervision, at home in all work both above and below ground, capable of himself instructing his foreman in each department in case of need, whilst the charge of the office and accounts would be entrusted to a capable and trustworthy cashier or book-keeper. It is obvious that either system would work well if the manager is a man of general shrewdness and ability. The former, perhaps, makes less demands upon the manager and more on his staff, whilst the latter has this in its favour, that it leaves to the board of directors the work that they should be best qualified to do. On the other hand, the latter class of man is undoubtedly more difficult to find than the former. However, much depends upon the class of the mine, and principally whether the ore is or not treated on the spot. Contrast, for instance, a South African gold-mine, with its underground workings, its hoisting and pumping shafts, rock-breakers, stamp-mills, vanner-house, chlorination works and cyanide works, with a North American or Spanish iron ore mine, that quarries out its ore, hand-picks it, and delivers it by an incline on to railway trucks, where it is sold straight away to the consumer. Obviously very few men can pretend to a sound practical knowledge of every branch of the former undertaking. Very few indeed there are who, as an ideal manager should be able to, could take the practical management of any one of the various departments that are under their general supervision, whilst in the latter, a man of business, who knows the iron ore market and is on friendly terms with all the leading consumers, is obviously a more suitable man than one who has only his technical knowledge to recommend him.

Obviously, therefore, a mine - manager must either be a mining engineer or must have one under him, according as one or the other of the two rival methods of mine-management above laid down be adopted. It is also obvious that in small concerns, and perhaps also in the initial stage of large ones, the method of selecting a nontechnical mine-manager, and giving him a staff of experienced practical men under him, is too costly a method to be feasible. When, however, a large mine has been developed, and when, in addition to the mining proper, there are a number of more or less complicated processes of ore treatment that have to be worked in conjunction with it, the principle of making the responsible managership a purely administrative appointment, with competent engineers and technologists under him in charge of their respective departments (whilst the assayer in his laboratory supplies the manager with a criterion of their working efficiency), has answered admirably, and some of the most successful mines in the world are organized on this principle. At the same time it is obvious that the mine must have in itself the essential elements of success; that is to say, it must be both large and rich to enable it to pay for this more expensive system of management, so that it is not quite easy to distinguish here between cause and effect, or to say to what extent the success is due to the inherent value of the mine, and to what extent to the system on which its management is organized. Perhaps the only safe conclusion to set down is that opportunist doctrines ought to be allowed to prevail in selecting a mine manager. If he is a good man, let him be in either category and arrange the rest of the staff to suit his idiosyncrasies, for good mine-managers are not to be found every day.