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"THE TATE RIVER TIN MINES" Feb 16, 1892 (16 February 1892)
contributed by Jenkins
(contact Jenkins about this story)
;The Brisbane Courier, Monday 29 February 1892 (Page 3) via Correspondent in Tate;
FEB 16 1892
Since my last letter the Tate tin mines have been very largely developed.
The alluvial ground which was formerly taken up by Mr. John Kobb, railway contractor, has been reapplied for by a New South Wales company.
This company holds at the present time four leases-
the Albert, 40 acres ;
the Edward, 40 acres ;
the Kathleen, 10 acres ;
and the Alice, 5 acres ;
total, 95 acres.
All this ground is alluvial tin ground, and is bounded on the north and east by the famous Tate prospecting claim, containing 40 acres, owned by Messrs. Fischer Bros., which has been worked by this private firm ten years, and has turned out up to date about 475 tons of stream tin, assaying on an average 75 per cent of metallic tin.
This is a very good return when it is remembered that there is only from five to six weeks' water to work with during every year.
The prospecting claim is being worked on the ground-sluicing principle. The whole of the ground is worked on a face, the stripping going from 3oz. and the wash up to several pounds' weight of 75 per cent tin to the dish ; and so far there has been only 5 acres at the utmost out of the 40 acres worked.
The Tate Tin Sluicing Company have commenced work in earnest at last, their ground having been exempted from labour for the last eighteen months.
The engineer, Mr, Quirk, of Goulburn, New South Wales, has finished the erection of the pumping machinery, but found that insufficient piping had been ordered.
The pipes, however, have since arrived, and are placed in position ; in fact, everything is ready for a start with the exception of the tail-race, which is not quite completed, and is being cut through a part of the company's ground at an average depth of 6ft.
It carries good tin, going as much as 3lb. to the dish of dirt. There can be no doubt that when this company gets to- work it will prove to be one of the most valuable alluvial tin properties yet known.
A Tangye pump has been placed on the bank ~ of the Tate River, about 200 yards east of Messrs. Fischer Bros.' stores; she throws 450,000 gallons of water in twenty-four hours, and forces the water in 8in. iron pipes to a height of 108ft.; thence it is carried to the place of operations by fluming and races.
The pump was tried a few days ago, the only drawback being that she does not deliver enough water for the purpose required, and this, of course, is the principal necessity in sluicing-the more water the better.
From what I hear, the company's intention is to prove the ground first, and then find means, together with Fischer Bros.' claim, to bring in a race from the Tate River, which would be about seven miles long, and is estimated to cost about £8000.
This plan if carried out, to my belief, would turn out to be the best alluvial tin mine yet opened. There are about 100 men on the field at present, half of them working in the surrounding creeks and gullies on their own account stacking wash dirt, and others preparing for ground sluicing, all anxiously waiting for the much-needed wet season.
Now about our tin lodes. Since the Tate tin mines wore opened eleven years ago (out of which I have been here eight years), the cry of supposed experienced miners was, "No tin lodes will ever be found on the Tate."
I have always been of a different opinion, and am glad to say that it has turned out to be correct.
In November, 1890, a lease was applied for by Messrs. Fischer, Kracke, and Hemmy on a tin lode, which was named Mount Borunda.
It is a mountain about 500ft. high, a distance of a mile and a-half from Messrs. Fischer Bros.' stores, and commences to rise gradually from the north boundary of the Tate prospecting claim, and this is no doubt where all the stream tin has come from.
The owners of Mount Borunda have done a good deal of work in opening up the lode, which I may say has been traced all over the mountain.' No walls can be found as yet, everywhere is the same micaceous rock formation, all of it bearing good payable tin. On Mount Borunda a new shaft is being sunk, 8ft. by 4ft., which is now 23ft. deep from the surface.
The shaft went through tin stone carrying on an average about 15 per cent of metallic tin, and as the shaft went down the better the ore became, and now I am happy to say the whole shaft is mostly on bagging ore, assaying over 60 per cent of tin.
There is no base metal of any description in the ore, which naturally makes the mine more valuable, and again, the tin stone itself is of a very soft nature, and consists chiefly of micaceous rook.
The width of the lode is not known so far, but it has been traced for about forty yards, and I have every reason to believe we have another Mount Bischoff here.
The No. 1 Mount Borunda is situated about 5 chains to the north-east of the Mount Borunda p.c., and is a 10-acre lease, owned by a party of six, some of the share- holders living in New South Wales.
A good deal of work has also been done on this lease, the lode having been sunk on here and there for over 200 yards, and all the shafts are on payable tin.
One assay gave an average of 24 per cent of tin to the ton. A main shaft is being sunk at present, and the tin stone is now mixed with a little chloride of copper.
The lode appears to be a big one, as on some places ore has been taken out for 9ft. wide. The only thing we require here is a crushing mill, and no doubt we shall very soon have this if our lodes continue as at the present.
There are hundreds of surface shows here, all carrying a good percentage of tin, and if once a mill was on the ground shafts would be going down all over the field ; but certainly as it is at present miners cannot see their way clear to working 20 or 80 per cent ore if it cannot be treated on the field, as carriage is very high yet, say £10 to £12 per ton to Port Douglas, or to send ore to the nearest crushing mill would cost from £6 to £8 per ton.
Miners, as well as storekeepers and butchers, are very anxious to see the rain set in, as we have had none to do any good yet.
In consequence, the returns of stream tin from the Tate tin mines will be very small for this season, whereas we generally topped the market during previous years.
This story was uploaded into the Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia entry for the Mine 'Tate River Mine'.