But the future of the mining industry of Western Australia depends almost entirely upon one field, and that is the famous Hannan's Field, where at the present moment the richest mines are being worked. There are other districts and gold-fields in the colony, but it is most improbable that many will ever be payable. At any rate, they are not likely to have much influence on the future of the industry, so that the small field at Hannan's is the only one to which the investor and speculator need pay any serious attention. This field is only some twenty miles from Coolgardie, which it has supplanted. It was discovered in 1893, and since then scores of mines have been worked in more or less desultory fashion, many have been abandoned, and a few remain, and out of those remaining few there are scarcely a dozen that are likely to be dividend-payers for many years to come. The belt in which formation all the mines are situated extends for only six or seven miles in length, and is about a mile and a half wide. Beyond this belt no gold worth talking about has yet been found, but in the belt are a number of parallel lodes which carry gold of intermittent richness throughout their length. In many mines these lodes have been found unpayable, whilst in others they have been found to be so rich that these may be numbered amongst the greatest gold-mines the world has ever seen. The names of these are well known: The Associated, Great Boulder, Great Boulder Perseverance, Lake View, Golden Horse Shoe, the Ivanhoe and Hannan's Brownhill, all of which lie very closely together, and though there are a number of others working on the field, and still making returns, they are not likely to be comparable to those I have named. Nevertheless, they may be worked with a fair amount of success for years to come, and one or two may see a change for the better in their fortunes.

But the future even of the great mines depends upon the quantities of sulphide ores that will be found in depth, and upon their successful treatment. The oxidized ores in most of them have been worked out, but there is evidently an unlimited supply of sulphides, which will last for many years to come. Vast sums of money have been spent in experimenting upon these ores and in finding a suitable process for their profitable treatment. After many failures a process has at last been found in the Diehl process, and though this has not yet had a prolonged trial, there is little doubt that it has solved the problem, and therefore the futures of these mines are now assured. It will certainly be much more expensive than the simpler treatment of the oxides, but that will not make an appreciable difference in their future profits, especially if they are managed more honestly than some of them have been in the past. I counsel investors, therefore, as distinct from speculators, to confine their attention to the mines I have mentioned. In these we find the reefs to be unusually thick. They are rarely less than 6 feet, and occasionally are found to be 30, 40, 50, and even 80 feet thick, carrying gold throughout the whole width. Taking the Associated first, this is, as far as size goes, the biggest mine in Western Australia. But, unfortunately, it has not yet had full justice done to it, and has hitherto been worked solely in the interests of the market rather than in that of the shareholders. It will be a long time before we can forget the painful revelations of 1899, which caused so great a consternation throughout the country, and which sent the shares down from nearly 14 to less than 6. Those, therefore, who bought the shares at high prices, owing to the magnificent returns from the mine, due to 'eye-picking,' have suffered greatly, and it is to be hoped we have seen the last of the scandals connected with this mine. Its issued capital is £500,000, and up to the present it has paid dividends of 4s. per share in 1898, 7s. 6d. per share in 1899, and 1s. 6d. per share in 1900, which is certainly no record for such a mine as this to boast of. Although experts hold different opinions as to the richness and permanence of this mine, the consensus of opinion seems to be that its permanence in depth is proved, and that it has a long life assured to it. The recent report issued by the directors showed a loss on the past twelve months' working of £8,171, or, including a claim for income-tax, which they do not admit, £16,343. If the profit made during the previous year is deducted, the loss is reduced to £3,643. This, of course, is a regrettable state of things for a mine of this character, and no doubt it is due solely, as the directors say, to the 'disastrous policy of recent years.' They add that 'it may fairly be said that a large part of the work of the past year has been devoted to correcting the mistakes and extravagances of the former management, and that necessarily at a heavy cost of both time and money.' The first half of the modified plant is at work, and when the second plant has been altered it is expected that it will be possible to treat from 7,000 to 8,000 tons per month, with an extraction of about 92 per cent., as against 2,000 to 7,000 tons, with 60 to 70 per cent. extraction, in the past. The reserves of ore in sight are estimated at 122,794 tons, containing 142,939 oz. of gold, or an average of 1 oz. 3 dwt. 7 grs. per ton, as against 37,740 tons, containing 53,490 oz. of gold, in April, 1890. Thus, the prospects are highly promising if there is no more mismanagement, and the attention of speculators may be directed to the shares of this company.