Electric power can be employed for pumping, for shot firing, for hauling, and for innumerable purposes in a mine.
Electricity lends itself most advantageously to so many and varied processes, even in accelerating the influence of cyanide solutions on gold, and in effecting the magnetic influence on metallic particles in separating processes; while applied to haulage purposes, either on aerial lines or on tram or railroads, it is an immediate and striking success.
It is anticipated that in the near future the mines on the Randt, South Africa, will be electrically driven from a coalfield generating station located on the coalfields some thirty miles from Johannesburg. Such a plant made up of small multiples of highly efficient machines will enable mine-owners to obtain a reliable power to any extent at immediate command and at a reasonable charge in proportion to the power used. This wholesale supply of power will be a godsend to a new field, enabling the opening up to be greatly expedited; and no climatic difficulties, such as dry seasons, or floods, need interfere with the regular running of the machinery. The same system of power-generation at a central station is to be applied to supply power to the mines of Western Australia.
COMPANY FORMATION AND OPERATIONS
All the world over, the operation of winning from the soil and rendering marketable the many valuable ores and mine products which abound is daily becoming more and more a scientific business which cannot be too carefully entered into or too skilfully conducted. The days of the dolly and windlass, of the puddler, cradle, and tin dish, are rapidly receding; and mining, either in lode or alluvial working, is being more generally recognised as one of the exact sciences. In the past, mining has been carried on in a very haphazard fashion, to which much of its non-success may be attributed.
But the dawn of better days has arrived, and with the advent of schools of mines and technical colleges there will in future be less excuse for ignorance in this most important industry.
This chapter will be devoted to Company formation and working, in which mistakes leading to very serious consequences daily occur.
It is not necessary to go deeply into the question why, in the mining industry more than any other, it should be deemed desirable as a general rule to carry on operations by means of public Companies, but, as a matter of fact, few names can be mentioned of men who mine extensively single handed. Yet, risky as it is, mining can hardly be said to be more subject to unpreventable vicissitudes than, say, pastoral pursuits, in which private individuals risk, and often lose or make, enormous sums of money.
However, it is with Mining Companies we are now dealing, and with the errors made in the formation and after conduct of these Associations.