The Argus at KellyGang 15/8/1864

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The following report on the physical character and mineral resources of a portion of the Ovens district has been lately received by the Honourable the Minister of Mines:

Melbourne , July 27.

To the Honourable the Minister of Mines, Melbourne .

Sir,-Referring to the instructions from the secretary for mines, as per letter MD 64/728 of the 1st of March, the chief mining surveyor's memo, of the 26th of March, and my report to the chief mining surveyor of the 30th of March, I now have the honour to transmit the following drawings, viz.:

A. Physical and mining map of Beechworth division; scale, half-inch per mile. B. Sketch-plan of water-races in Spring Creek and Snake Valley sub-divisions.

C. Sketch-plan of water-races in the Woolshed and part of Three Mile sub-divisions.

D. Plan of proposed races by the Ovens Gold-fields Waterworks Company.

I have the honour to report as follows:-

1st. While engaged on reconnaissance of this division I carefully prepared the following (enclosure marked A.) detailed statistics of the Woolshed and Spring Creek sub-divisions.

2nd. From the accompanying half-inch map it will he seen that the Beechworth division embraces an area of about 1,120 square miles.

1 estimate the actual area of surface gold workings at about eight square miles; and the area of under-ground gold-workings, of which there is no trace on the surface-, at about one square mile.

The depths of surfacing and shallow sinking vary from one to fifty feet.

It will be seen from the preceding statistics that the puddling machines are not used to any great extent; by far the greater portion of the claims being sluiced from the surface to the bed rock.

Although there is no doubt that the richest portions, namely, the middle of the creeks, &c, have been worked, there is an immense area of unworked ground that would prove remunerative if a liberal supply of water could be had.

The only deep mining in this division is at the El Dorado, where the sinking is principally through decomposed granite, with payable results; and at Bowman's Forest , where the sinking is through indurated sand, slate. &c, where a large amount of capital has been expended with but small returns. Notwithstanding this, it is the opinion of experienced miners, in which I fully concur, that this locality offers great inducements both to the alluvial and quartz-mining adventurer having capital at command.

I would take this opportunity of stating the immense auriferous formation in the valley of the Ovens is worthy the attention of the miner practically acquainted with sluicing operations.

I estimate the area of unworked auriferous lands (partially prospected) at 220 square miles, and the unworked portion of the creeks, gullies, and flats already opened up at from seventy to eighty square miles.

That portion within the area coloured pink on the half-inch map is worthy of attention, not only on account of gold having been found in every creek, gully, and flat, but also of its having been proved to contain large deposits of stream tin. Many attempts have been made to work this ground, but owing to the want of a plentiful supply of water, they have hitherto proved unremunerative.

Quartz-mining is not carried on to such an extent as in other parts of the colony. Within the division there are five well defined reefs, from which comparatively small quantities of quartz are being obtained, and although numerous large "blows" or "bedies" and "spurs" of quartz are to be seen, and every indication of immense mineral wealth. I regret to state that quartz mining is not pursued with that energy that the physical features and geological formation of the division would warrant.

Tin mining is carried on to a moderate extent, small quantities of stream tin being obtained by sluicing the beds of Sheep Station and other creeks, and also from wash-dirt got from deep sinking at El Dorado.

A furnace for smelting tin are is in operation at Reid's Creek. I visited the works, and made application for a sample of the ore (offering to pay for it), and some particulars as to the yield, &c, but was unable to obtain the information desired. Speaking to one of the proprietors of the tin smelting furnace on the advisability of exploring the ranges adjacent, with a view to the discovery of veins of tin ore, he informed me that he had done so, but without success ; but I have no doubt a careful prospector would be amply rewarded.


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