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ESGAIR HIR MINE This lead mine well illustrates in many par- ticulars some objectionable phases in Welsh mining enterprize, and its history may be read with interest and profit by those who feel dis- posed to invest capital in undertakings respecting which, as a rule, they can obtain DO information beyond what is volunteered in prospectuses issued by promoters of companies. That there is lead in large and paying quantities amongst the hills of Wales there can be no mannsr of doubt, and it is equally certain that there is lead at Esgair Hir, but whether the new companv recently formed will obtain the covaed mineral in divi- dend paying quantities, fime alone can decide. If in the past the capital obtained in London, or even fifty per cent. of it, had been spent in de- veloping the Welsh mines, for which ostensibly it was raised, mining in Wales would have occupied a less dubious position in the estimation of the public than it does to-day. The Marquess of LONDONDERRY, Sir WATKIN, Lord LISBURNE, Sir PRYSE PiiYSE, and Colonel POWELL, the great landlords of the district, on whose estates lead mines are worked, are anxious to develop legitimate mining, and to prevent mine jobbing, which is extensively carried on, and interferes prejudicially with the operations of companies like that recently formed to work Esgair Hir. So completely has the con- fidence of the inhabitants in the dis rict been des- troyed by mere speculators and jobbers that shares in companies for working lead mines are now seldom or never taken by anyone who knows the country in which they are situated. This ought not to be so, especially as there are many mines, which, if fairly worked, would pay good interest on the capital expended. Local confi- dence, however, will not be restored until the landowners of Wales take a personal interest in mining, encourage the establishment of local com- panies, and work at any rate to some extent with local capital. The past history of Esgair Hir mine, with slight variations in the details, might be applied to a score of similar undertakings in Cardiganshire and elsewhere. From about the year 1870 to 1875 Esgair Elir mine was worked by a company with a capital of £ 10,000. After going on for some time an additional sum of £ 4,500 was raised in debentures. During the! period the Company was in existence lead worth something like £ 8,000 was raised and sold, and this sum was also invested in the mine. In 1875 the Company was wound up, and early in 1876 the mine was sold with all the plant, machinery, &c., to Mr. GRIFFITH WILLIAMS, of Aberystwyth, for £ 1,500. The purchaser worked the mine for about a year at a cost of not far short of £1,000, and in March last he sold it for about£2,500 to Mr. THOMAS Hnn: GREEN. A com- pany was then formed with a capital of ;Cloo,ooo, and the mine was purchased from Mr. GREEN for £ 70,000 in shares, leaving ESO,000 for working the mine and other expenses. If this large amount for which the mine has been purchased and paid for in shares was net to bear dividends until the ordinary investors had received say ten per (ent., nobody would have a right to complaiu, but that a mine sold for £ 2,500 should become worth S70,000 and be able to bear a capital of -vioo,ooo requires faith--more faith than can be found in Wales. Suppose a sum of £ 20,000 out of the capital of R100,000 ultimately finds its way to Esgair Hir, and is expended there in developing the workings it is not impossible that the results may show a decent return on the sum expended, but how about the £ 70,000 purchase money and the ex- penses consequent on placing the remainder of the shares ? The public in nearly all cases of new companies are led to expect large immediate returns on investments in lead mines; and although experience is always teaching the hollowness of these expectations, promoters of companies and captains of mines continue to represent the properties for which they seek to obtain capital as on the eve of paying immense profits. This conduct on the part of promoters and captains is perhaps not so extraordinary as" the trustfulness of the public, thousands of whom do not know the difference between a lead mine and a slate quarry, but who nevertheless are willing to invest their money on the faith of flowing reports, which in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred are less worthy of credence than the wildest tales of the Arabian Nights. It must not for a moment be presumed, because promoters are over sanguine and disappointment ensues, that there is no lead in Tv .ties There is plenty of lead and, if honestly conducted, mining is a business that pays. Of course there are great riÙs, but then there are great prizes and, after all, it is doubtful if a reasonable proportion of the money raised by companies was spent in opening ground, whether lead mining would not be a safer and more profitable investment than some of the so-called "securities" of foreign coun- tries. Mining is at a low ebb just now, and nothing would so quickly restore the confidence of the public as to see the landowners and resi- dents in the district once more taking shares in Welsh mining companies. Everybody in the neighbourl'ood naturally desires to see a company like that formed to work Esgair Hir succeed, heavily weighted though it is, but whether anybody who knows all the circumstances of the case be- lieves success is pcssible is more than we are able to say. Fortunately for investors in mines, success does not depend upon beliefs, but it does depend in no slight degree upon the amount of capital wisely expended on the particular workings from whence the ore has to be drawn if dividends are ever to be paid.


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