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required for copper-smelting, it was found there of a better quality and in abundance, and the neighbouring district of Lota was also discovered to contain coal.
In the year 1840 the coal of the Morro Hill * at Talcahuano was examined by Mr. Wheelwright and Mr. Peacock, the superintendents of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company; and after several trials had been made with specimens from this spot under the boilers of the steamer · Peru,' it was found to give abundance of steam, although yielding a large amount of residuum, and about 20 per cent. greater consumption than the best Welsh coals, requiring consequently more space in the ship and greater labour in working. These gentlemen, however, being thrown upon their own resources by the non-arrival of coal from England, continued their researches, and commenced the working of the mines in earnest, by driving levels and sinking pits in the hill of the Morro, and actually worked out 30,000 tons, which was all burnt on board the steamers · Peru' and Chile' during their voyages up and down the coast. Mr. Peacock, with the aid of a ship's blacksmith, managed to construct a boring-rod, and by boring in the plain at the back of the Morro, he discovered a seam of superior coal at the depth of 130 feet below the level of the sea, where he sunk a pit 9 feet in diameter, bringing up the water by means of a jack-roll and buckets; but in the absence of a pumping-engine (not to be obtained on the coast at that time) it gained on the sinkers just as the seain was won, and the pit was filled with water.
About this time large shipments of guano were being made from Peru, and the freight of English coal being reduced to 20s. per ton, it was found cheaper to use English coal, and the works were not prosecuted. The increase of steamers on the coast for the last three years caused a larger demand, and the seam at Lota was at once opened, and is now being worked to a great extent: it was worked, as was Coronel, by means of levels, but which method is now being abandoned, particularly at Lota, for that of working by pits. Some two years since the Lota Coal Company was established, and the operations are now carried on under the management of M. B. Whyte, Esq., according to the English mode of working, but steam-engines will shortly supersede the use of oxen at the whims; and as the requirements of coal are rapidly increasing, Lota -- not long since part of the wilderness road to Araucowill be a flourishing locality.
My own impression in regard to Chile coal, when previously in the country, was, that it was a lignite, or at most, a very imperfect coal ; however, on arriving at Iquique, in Peru, 1854, and examining the fuel from Coronel and Lota, and seeing it used with ad
* Lord Cochrane, Captain Basil Hall, and others used the Concepcion coal.
vantage at the nitrate of soda refineries of Tarapaca, I was obliged to confess that there was a coal-formation in Chile.
Having occasion to go to Valparaiso on the 3rd of June, I took passage in the steamer New Granada,' on board of which vessel I had the opportunity of observing the practical application of Lota coal to steaming purposes. The chief engineer, Mr. Henderson, informed me that it was now more than twelve months since he had used this coal: the first two voyages the ship was deficient in steam, on account of their not being acquainted with the burning of the coal, and furnaces not being properly adapted to its use ; but a little alteration being made in them, by giving more air and less draught, there has not been the slightest difficulty in using Lota coal, and that the difference of consumption is somewhat more than good Welsh coal. The engineer stated that it is said to be liable to spontaneous combustion, but that in his experience he has not seen the slightest tendency to do so.
The following embraces a most important item regarding this coal in a pecuniary point of view :
The New Granada' consumed 15 tons Welsh coal per day, value 18 dolls. per ton, equal to 270 dolls. per day ; this same steamer consumes 18 tons of Lota coal at 6 dolls, per ton, which is a saving of 18,360 dolls. per annum, or 3,6701.
From a communication written on board the steamer - Yankee Blade,' between Valparaiso and Panamá, dated April 12th, 1854, the following is extracted :
“ The quality of the Lota coal is excellent, and superior to that hitherto found in Chile; it is a rich bituminous article. As to the facilities of loading, the : Yankee Blade' took in 700 tons in 3 days. Lota is a port of entry, allowing vessels in ballast to enter there direct from foreign ports. The steamer • America' made, with Lota coal, her voyage from Valparaiso to Panamá in less than 10 days ; the last 24 hours the “ Yankee Blade' ran 277 miles, and the difference between the Lota and Cardiff coal was ouly 5 per cent. in favour of Cardiff.”
I landed at Lota the 6th of June (Lutrin Point, lat. 37° 4' 10" S., long. 73° 16' 5" W.). The port is good, and protected from “ Northers.” There was great activity observed in raising the coal from the pits ; it is screened at the pit mouth, bagged and weighed, carted to the beach, put into launches, and by these taken on board. The present settlement is along the summit of the hills, containing a population of more than 600 labourers, some being Scotch coal miners. I examined the surface of the country, which is undulating land and ravines ; on the sea-shore are observed indurated sandstones and conglomerates, and in places the coal seams cropping out. The geological formation is, as Darwin states, an old tertiary ; continuing easterly the
hitherte of Londiners, ca. 79
parties and up of this compartides incheide first coeles
valley of Lota is attained, and the coal-formation appears to extend
The Admiralty Investigation Committee gives the following analyses of the lignite of Talcahuano :ash 6.92, carbon 70-71, hydrogen 6-44, oxygen, sulphur, nitrogen 16.93=100. Dr. Playfair's analysis of Colcura coal, identical with the outcrop at Lota :
-ash 5.68, carbon 78:30, hydrogen 5:30, oxygen 8.37, sulphur 1:06, nitrogen 1:09=100. Mr. Abel of Coquimbo gives the following recent analysis of Lota first seam :-- ash 2:05, carbon 83.70, hydrogen 1:02, oxygen and nitrogen 13-23 = 100, and he remarks that the Lota coal is equal in quality to many of the best English coals. Its specific gravity is 1:300.
It has been shown that this old tertiary formation is of great extent, particularly along the coast. Coal has been found in the Straits of Magellan, and indications of it only 30 miles S. of Valparaiso, and there is reason to believe that coal may be met with to the E. of the coast ranges in the south.
The Lota coal district is estimated to contain about 40 million tons of coals ; Coronel, double that quantity. The shaly strata above and below the coal, contain impressions in abundance of a large leafy plant, bunches of stuff like burnt straw, and indications of calamites and pines.
Valparaiso, 28th June, 1854.
te ver, og foretation et le entrance he mainnas and main About batto
IX.-On Western Australia. By Amos Scott, of the Royal
Sappers and Miners.
Read, Feb. 13, 1854.
Fremantle, Swan River. Your former kindness and complaisance has induced me to offer a few brief observations to you on the geology and mineralogy of this portion of the vast island of Australia, trusting they may not be altogether uninteresting, however imperfect they may be. My duties not having permitted me to go far into the interior, I can only speak from actual observation of Fremantle and its vicinity. This town is situated at the mouth of the Swan River, on a promontory projecting into the sea ; it appears to be of recent formation, as the surface is of the same character as three small islands at the entrance of the harbour, and which have not very long ago formed part of the mainland ; there is no indication of minerals, the whole of the islands and mainland, where the houses are built, being sand mixed with shells. About half a mile distant there is a ridge of hills formed of sandstone and carbonate of lime, the former very soft and inferior for building purposes, the latter yielding a fair quality of lime, the fuel being a resinous wood, from the Xanthorea or grass-tree, growing in great abundance in the interior. The resin of this tree has peculiar properties, forming an excellent varnish, equal in every respect to that of shell-lac when properly prepared; the tops are eaten by the natives as a succulent vegetable. The face of the country beyond the hills presents nothing attractive to the agriculturist or mineralogist, if we except a small district near Perth and Guildford, which being situated on the margin of the Swan River, has the advantage of previous deposits of inud, &c. from the former course of the river, and which gives great fertility to that particular district; but this space being limited, it is laid out for gardens, &c. Beyond and about fifty miles in the interior there are hills composed of red granite, and some extensive beds of the bisulphuret of iron, similar to that found in the hills in the county of Wicklow, Ireland, and used for the manufacture of sulphuric acid ; on analysis it proves to be a true bisulphuret. In the same neighbourhood also there are indications of copper, of no value as a commercial speculation. To the north as far as Champion Bay, but 50 or 60 miles in the interior, there are some valuable deposits of galena, cropping out even on the surface, yielding 70 or 80 per cent. of lead ; copper ore has also been found here, yielding 60 per cent. The great distance, no roads, and the scarcity of water are great hindrances to a successful prosecution of mining enterprises; but a company has been formed, and is now working the lead mines, and intend renewing their search for copper. In the neighbourhood of Guildford there is clay and sandstone of good quality, and our Company have procured some specimens of slate which promised well, but on digging deeper it was found in detached pieces of no value, embedded in clay: near this slate there is a stone similar in appearance and texture to the “Turkey stone;" it is a combination of silica, alumina, and iron. Anthracite coals have been obtained near Perth, but of very inferior quality. I do not think there is anything more of interest either to the geologist or mineralogist. The great scarcity of water, the parching heat of the dry season, and the uncertainty of the wet one, will always render this country liable to great fluctuations in the amount of agricultural products, and more or less dependent on other countries for food, and there is very great doubt in the opinion of some of the first settlers (now 23 years) that this colony can ever support even a moderate population. At present there is not six months' supply raised, and the large tracts of barren wastes between the few available patches give little encouragement to any agricultural undertaking. There are hundreds of miles where there is nothing but sand, bush, and forest. The trees of the latter are well adapted for both building and hydraulic purposes, the timber being impervious to the white ant, and retaining its properties under water; but the procuring of it is so expensive as to make any building much dearer than it would be in London.
The Convict Establishment and our Company have given an impetus to trade, but time will show whether it be judicious to select a spot for this purpose which offers so few inducements to agricultural pursuits.
To Captain Scott, R.E.
X.- On the Navigation of the Murray. By Captain THOMAS
Read, Feb. 27, 1854.
Adelaide, Nov. 15, 1853. SIR,-I do myself the honour to address you regarding the first steam voyage ever performed on the Murray River, from the sea mouth to within 50 miles of its junction with the Campaspy; also about 60 miles up one of its tributaries, the Wakúl, and a few miles up the River Darling.
Having entered into a contract with the South Australian Government to place a steamer of a given horse-power on the